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Wednesday, May 12th, 2021CCRCs and Estate Planning

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Wednesday, May 26th, 2021Digital Estate Planning:
What Every Planner Needs to Know

EVENTS

CANHR's COVID-19 Coronavirus
News & Resources 

In an effort to keep you all better informed, we have created a website, https://canhrnews.com/ specifically for COVID-19 information, news and resources related to Long Term Care. For the duration of this crisis, we are posting frequent updates there.

COVID-19 Vaccinations in Long Term Care Facilities

On January 15th CANHR hosted a Zoom town hall for California residents of long term care and their families, friends, and advocates to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

CANHR Fights Illegal Discharge to Reunite Couple
Married 50 Years

When Bill and Beverly Borden entered the skilled nursing facility housed in Tahoe Forest District Hospital in Truckee, they and their family thought the couple of more than fifty years had found a home to spend the rest of their lives together.

In April of 2020, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, the facility dumped Bill Borden in a hospital emergency room and refused to readmit him to return to his wife. The couple and their family were devastated, and they reached out for help to their ombudsman and to CANHR.


CANHR immediately filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health, and successfully represented the Bordens at a hearing before the Department of Health Care Services. Although the agency ordered that Bill be immediately readmitted, the facility ignored the ruling and the State did not enforce the hearing decision. Capitalizing on the State’s inaction, the facility filed for a civil restraining order to prevent Bill's return. CANHR represented the Bordens in the superior court hearing on that motion, again resulting in a resounding defeat for the facility.

With the facility refusing to readmit Bill and obey the DHCS order, and the State refusing to enforce its own order, CANHR sought the assistance of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), arguing that the CMS should decline to provide Medicare reimbursement to the facility because its refusal to readmit Bill meant the facility was not complying with its contract with the federal regulator. These arguments were successful, and faced with a meaningful penalty for flouting federal law on October 17 the facility finally readmitted Bill, ending the longest separation the couple had experienced in their marriage.

As soon as Bill's short quarantine is over, he and Beverly will again be together, at home.

Residents and their families experiencing unlawful discharges and wrongful refusals to readmit should contact CANHR for advocacy and advice.


click to read more

 
Home Equity Protection Program (HEPP)
funded by the State Bar of CA to prevent financial mortgage scams and more... Please read our FREE BOOKLET of Reverse Mortgage information.

 

#VisitationSavesLives
Join our campaign to restore reasonable visitation to residents in long term care facilities.
 
Hollywood Premier Dumps Resident For NOT Having COVID-19

Read More...


Violation of the Month Archive

New Developments

  • The Consequences of Regulatory Failure: 132,000 Dead Nursing Home Residents

    A new article in the Georgetown Law Review, “Nursing Homes, COVID-19, and the Consequences of Regulatory Failure,” by Syracuse Professor Nina Kohn attempts to explain why COVID-19 was so devastating to nursing homes in 2020. In the article, Professor Kohn condemns the idea that the enormous number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in nursing homes was “inevitable” or “largely outside of [facilities'] control.” She goes on to summarize:

    [T]he nursing-home-as-victim narrative belies the deliberate policy choices and regulatory failures that have shaped long-term care in the U.S. and enabled nursing homes to make choices that have long endangered the health and welfare of their residents. . . . The skyrocketing death rates in nursing homes are not merely the result of glitches in the public health response to COVID-19, but rather a predictable consequence of the failure to enforce federal regulations, gaps in regulatory requirements for facilities, and policies that steered vulnerable, older adults into these institutions in the first place.  

    Professor Kohn critiques the nation’s slow rollout to address the massive vulnerability of nursing home residents to COVID-19: routine testing of staff and residents was not required until six months after the pandemic hit, PPE was not provided to nursing homes, and staff were permitted to work in multiple facilities. These failures combined with longstanding nursing home problems like chronic understaffing, entrenched underenforcement of regulatory standards, and disproportional long term care spending on institutional settings over home and community based settings (“perhaps the most fundamental policy failure”), to create a system that was almost totally unequipped to deal with a highly contagious, highly lethal virus.

    The policy prescriptions Professor Kohn advises are comprehensive. She observes that facilities providing awful nursing home care are paid just about the same as facilities providing high quality care. Policymakers must do a better job of aligning nursing home reimbursement with higher quality. Higher direct care staffing should either be mandated or financially rewarded. The U.S. and states should consider adopting spending floors on direct care. Finally, more public dollars should be allocated away from institutional settings and directed to home and community based services.

    Professor Kohn ends her article with a familiar axiom: creating a more humane long term care system is completely doable - the question is whether society and our policymakers are willing to make the commitment.

    click to read more
    (posted May 4, 2021)
  • Court Ruling a Watershed for Victims of Resident Dumping

    In a big victory for nursing home residents, a California court has ruled that residents who are dumped and refused readmission only need to prevail in their administrative fair hearing in order to establish a violation of their rights in a civil action against the facility.

    The case involves former nursing home resident Gloria Single, who was dumped from a Sacramento nursing home called Pioneer House into a hospital and refused readmission in 2017. Ms. Single's husband lived at Pioneer House too so the facility's illegal refusal to readmit her meant the couple was kept apart for the rest of Ms. Single's life (she passed away in 2019). 

    Shortly after her illegal eviction, Ms. Single exercised her right to appeal with the state Department of Health Care Services. Her appeal was successful and Pioneer House was ordered to readmit Ms. Single. But it didn't, choosing instead to thumb its nose at the State. Eventually, Ms. Single filed suit.

    The court's order found that Ms. Single's successful appeal creates "issue preclusion," meaning the determination of Pioneer House's conduct as illegal had already been adjudicated in the administrative appeal and carried over to Ms. Single's civil case. Thus, nursing home residents who prove that their facility violated their rights in a state eviction hearing are entitled to judgment as a matter of law in a subsequent civil action.

    Gloria Single is represented by Matt Borden of Braunhagey & Borden. Braunhagey & Borden have spent the last several years successfully fighting for justice for illegally dumped nursing home residents.

    click to read more
    (posted April 23, 2021)
  • Nonprofit Newsrooms Put Spotlight on Unfit, Unlicensed Nursing Home Operators in California

    On April 6, two nonprofit newsrooms in California published findings of remarkable investigations of California nursing home chains that are expanding their operations despite decisions by state regulators that they are unfit to be licensed. 

    Reporters for KPCC/LAist investigated ReNew Health Group and its CEO, Crystal Solorzano, who it reports owns or is affiliated with at least 26 nursing homes throughout California. Their article – Immediate Jeopardy: Death and Neglect Inside a Troubled California Nursing Home Chain ­– reports that the chain racked up an inordinate number of citations, many for severe infractions known as “Immediate Jeopardies” related to extreme abuse and neglect of residents, such as an alleged rape, an extraordinarily unsafe discharge, and more. State regulators denied Solorzano’s request to take over nine nursing homes and moved to revoke her nursing home administrator license, yet the story reports they have not stopped her from growing the nursing home chain she founded. 

    A CalMatters investigation found that state officials have let the state’s largest nursing home owner, Shlomo Rechnitz, and his companies operate 18 nursing homes for years while failing to decide whether to grant the required licenses. Furthermore, CalMatters reports that Rechnitz and his companies are operating five other skilled nursing facilities despite the Department of Public Health denying their licensure applications in 2016 due to poor track records. According to the story – California oversight of nursing homes called ‘befuddling,’ ‘broken’ – Rechnitz continued to acquire nursing homes during the pandemic.

    Both stories reported that AB 1502 (Muratsuchi) – a CANHR sponsored bill to reform nursing home ownership in California – has been sidelined and will not be heard until next year.

    The stories are part of 'Unprotected,' an ongoing series examining California's failures on nursing home oversight, done in collaboration with other nonprofit newsrooms.

    click to read more
    (posted April 12, 2021)
  • Human Rights Watch Report Examines Lethal Nursing Home Understaffing and Neglect
    new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) summarizes the horrible neglect and isolation in nursing homes during the pandemic.  In the knee jerk (and ultimately highly unsuccessful) effort to protect residents from COVID-19, policymakers banned visitors that had previously provided significant levels of care to residents, waived minimum staffing requirements, and suspended routine oversight.  As explained to HRW by several dozen nursing home staff members, residents and resident family members, these policies strained pre-existing understaffing problems and led to weight loss, dehydration, bed sores, poor hygiene, and profound isolation among residents.  As of November 2020, it was estimated that nursing homes experienced 40,000 excess deaths (more than would be expected given historical data) not caused by COVID-19.  Policymakers' decisions to isolate nursing homes and withdraw access and oversight in order to save residents tragically "caused serious harm to many people."
    (posted March 26, 2021)
  • AG Becerra and DA Coalition Sue Brookdale Senior Living for Illegal Discharges and Five-Star Fraud
    On March 15, 2021, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of district and city attorneys, led by Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer, sued Brookdale Senior Living, Inc. in Kern County Superior Court, alleging that Brookdale endangered residents of ten California skilled nursing facilities by failing to properly notify or prepare residents before transfers and discharges. The lawsuit also alleges that Brookdale over-reported staffing levels to the federal government, resulting in fraudulent increases to its federal star ratings for purposes of attracting potential residents. Brookdale is the nation’s largest senior living facility operator.
    Read the press release.
    (posted March 17, 2021)
  • New York Times Slams Federal Rating System for Nursing Homes
    A scathing March 13, 2021 article by the New York Times – In U.S. nursing homes, where Covid-19 killed scores, even reports of maggots and rape don’t dock five-star ratings – bluntly declared that the federal government’s five-star rating system for nursing homes “is broken.” The Times described five-star rated nursing homes with residents who had bone-deep bed sores and others who were reportedly raped, drugged, abused and seriously injured due to mistreatment. Moreover, it documented operators routinely gaming the ratings by submitting inflated staffing data and falsified resident care information that makes facilities seem cleaner and safer than they are. Because operators could score high ratings without improving their care, it concluded that nursing homes may have been unprepared for the pandemic. More than 130,000 U.S. nursing home residents have died of Covid-19, and the Times’s analysis found that people at five-star facilities were roughly as likely to die of the disease as those at one-star homes.
    (posted March 17, 2021)
  • Vaccines Are Reducing COVID Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

    study from the American Health Care Association has found that the COVID-19 vaccines are contributing to lower infection rates and COVID spread in nursing homes.  This study, based on preliminary data gathered shortly after the introduction of the vaccine in nursing homes in late 2020, provides evidence in favor of reopening nursing homes after its residents and staff have been vaccinated.

    Nursing homes residents have largely had no in-person visitation with family and friends since COVID first blew up in the United States in March 2020.  While outbreaks have ebbed and flowed in facilities across the country, the visitation prohibition has persisted, leaving residents suffering from extreme isolation and neglect.

    CLICK TO READ MORE
    (posted February 23, 2021)
  • Los Angeles County Inspector General Issues Second Report on Nursing Home Crisis

    On February 16, the Los Angeles County Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its second report of an ongoing investigation into the crisis in nursing homes. The report and related findings from the Auditor-Controller pick up where the first interim report left off in describing the County Department of Public Health’s dysfunctional nursing home oversight system.

    The new report takes an in-depth look at the evacuation of two Pasadena nursing homes that exposed their residents to life-threatening conditions during the pandemic; describes the concerns of numerous inspectors who complained that the safety of residents who live in nursing homes in L.A. County is compromised by pressures they face to prematurely close investigations and understate serious violations; makes the connection between chronically poor care and profiteering nursing home chains; and identifies systemic management failures that prevent the Department of Public Health’s Health Facility Inspection Division from prioritizing its work and from holding nursing homes accountable.

    The report contains thirteen recommendations, beginning with a recommendation to develop a comprehensive county-wide skilled nursing facility crisis mitigation and response plan. It closes with a statement that “the OIG will further analyze the complex issues involving ownership structures, and make corresponding recommendations, in its final report.”

    click to read more
    (posted February 18, 2021)

  • CANHR Files Lawsuit Against CMS Over Weakened Nursing Home Enforcement
    On January 18, CANHR and the Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care sued the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over a 2017 policy directive that pushes nursing home enforcers into smaller "per instance" fines instead of "per diem" fines that hold facilities accountable for each day of their wrongdoing.  The directive has been particularly loathsome during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when strong enforcement of our nursing home care standards has never been more important.  Read AARP's press release about the lawsuit here.  CANHR is being represented by AARP Foundation and Constantine Cannon LLP.
    (posted January 19, 2021)
  • Spectrum Institute to Co-Host Free Town Hall on California's Conservatorship System - February 1 at 11:00.
    The Spectrum Institute and some other organizations will be hosting a town hall meeting on February 1 at 11:00 to review the problems in California's conservatorship system and discuss possible reform efforts.
    Download flyer with more information HERE.
    (posted January 19, 2021)
  • New Study Examines COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in California’s Nursing Homes
    On December 1, the California Health Care Foundation released a new report – COVID-19 in California’s Nursing Homes: Factors Associated with Cases and Deaths – that was prepared by a team of researchers from UCSF, Cal Hospital Compare and IBM Watson Health. Early in the pandemic, the study found that low staffing levels and for-profit ownership were major factors triggering outbreaks and deaths in California nursing homes. For-profit nursing homes had COVID-19 case rates five to six times higher than those of nonprofit and government-run nursing homes while facilities with RN staffing greater than 0.8 hours per resident day had 50 percent fewer COVID cases than nursing homes that staffed below that level. As the pandemic spread, demographic factors including age and race were found to be significant risk factors. For example, nursing homes with higher percentages of Latino residents were found to have larger outbreaks than those with smaller populations of Latino residents. The report contains a series of important recommendations on staffing, ownership oversight, health equity promotion, facility size and design, transparency and public reporting of data.

    Read the Los Angeles Times article on the report: As virus again surges in California, race is a defining factor in nursing facilities, research shows
    Read the San Francisco Chronicle article on the report: Coronavirus cases and deaths soared in nursing homes across California. Here’s why
    (posted December 3, 2020)

  • Can Long Term Care Facility Residents Go Home for the Holidays During the Pandemic?
    In addition to the over 90,000 reported deaths due to COVID-19 in the nation’s nursing homes since March, the Associated Press is reporting findings that more than 40,000 additional residents died prematurely due to other causes. Those “excess deaths” were identified through an analysis conducted by Stephen Kaye, a professor at the Institute on Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco. The November 18 AP article – Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows – describes a tandem wave of horrific deaths in nursing homes due to extreme neglect and isolation. The analysis found that for every two COVID-19 victims in nursing homes, there is another who died prematurely of other causes.

    California officials have turned a blind eye toward this wave of deadly neglect by suspending regular inspections that evaluate the quality of care in nursing homes. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gave the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) authority to restore full inspections more than three months ago, yet it still hasn’t done so, opting instead to divert inspectors to narrowly focused infection control surveys that its own inspectors have harshly criticized for ignoring neglect. Alarmingly, CDPH’s actions are helping to cover up neglect rather than to detect and stop it.

    Not surprisingly, the AP’s investigation points to understaffing as a primary cause of the neglect. Here too, the CDPH is aiding negligent nursing home operators and exposing residents to neglect by rubber-stamping hundreds of operators’ requests to waive California’s minimum staffing standards during the pandemic. CDPH has granted such waivers to over 300 skilled nursing facilities, including to some of the worst performing nursing homes in the state.

    click to read more
    (posted December 2, 2020)
  • California Department of Public Health Moving Forward with Divisive Plan to Turn Inspectors into Consultants to Nursing Home Operators
    On November 20, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) wrote CANHR rejecting CANHR’s call to withdraw its misguided plan to turn nursing home inspectors into consultants to nursing homes. After spending the summer touting the benefits of a consultative role for inspectors, CDPH now disingenuously claims that its new survey model will not be consultative. Its actual plan and revised duty statement for inspectors show otherwise. The highly controversial duty statement is the subject of an Unfair Practice Charge filed on August 28 by SEIU Local 1000, the union representing RN inspectors, against CDPH.
    (posted December 2, 2020)
  • Looking for something no longer here? View our "New Developments" archives

Need a Speaker?

If you would like to invite CANHR to a support group meeting, resource fair, or other event in your community, please complete a speaker request form online.
Note: Due to limited number of staff, CANHR may not be able to accommodate all requests outside of the Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles Area.