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  Federal Court Says California Must Answer to Abandoned Nursing Home Residents
Plaintiff and nursing home resident Bruce Anderson Last week, a federal judge rebuffed the State's attempt to avoid a lawsuit alleging the State abandons residents who have been illegally dumped from their nursing homes into hospitals. The case, filed in 2015, has meandered through the federal court system but is finally gaining momentum and it appears the State is going to have to answer to the three residents who were dumped into hospitals, won their appeal hearings, and then were forsaken by the state agencies charged with enforcing nursing home laws. To read more about the court’s decision, click HERE.

You can read Courthouse News Service's story HERE.

Home Equity Protection Program (HEPP)
funded by the State Bar of CA to prevent financial mortgage scams and more...


Reforming AB 1629
Reforming AB 1629: No More Blank Checks for California Nursing Home Chains
LA Nursing Home Makes Habit of Dumping Residents
The residents of Vernon Healthcare Center may be happy to say goodbye to 2019 after the facility spent much of the year getting citations for illegally dumping residents into inappropriate settings unfit to meet their care needs.

Violation of the Month Archive

New Developments

  • Master Plan on Aging Long Term Services and Supports Subcommittee Meeting held on January 13
    The Long-Term Services and Supports Subcommittee of the Master Plan for Aging held meeting #6 Monday, January 13, 2020. The meeting explored "Group Living Settings" including assisted living and nursing homes. Pat McGinnis, CANHR's Executive Director, presented CANHR's recommendations regarding nursing homes, assisted living, home and community based services, and elder abuse and neglect. Representatives of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program also presented. The California Department of Aging posted a recording of the meeting to YouTube. THIS LINK will take you directly to Pat McGinnis' remarks.
    (posted January 21, 2020)
  • LTCCC Re-Caps Important 2019 Federal Nursing Home Developments
    The Long Term Care Community Coalition out of New York has written up a useful re-cap of all the major federal nursing home developments in 2019. The re-cap can be viewed on the LTCCC website HERE.
    (posted January 15, 2020)
  • LA Nursing Home Makes Habit of Dumping Residents
    The residents of Vernon Healthcare Center may be happy to say goodbye to 2019 after the facility spent much of the year getting citations for illegally dumping residents into inappropriate settings unfit to meet their care needs. At least three residents were sent to board and care homes while one was dumped into a hospital. At least two of the discharges were done without the resident’s physician’s approval. These citations are more evidence of the nursing home discharge crisis recently highlighted by NBC News.
    (posted January 9, 2020)
  • Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements for Nursing Home Residents
    On December 5, 2019, U.S. Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act. If enacted, the bill would prohibit long-term care facilities from requiring or soliciting residents to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements. CANHR and other leading advocacy organizations for nursing home residents have endorsed the bill.
    (posted December 12, 2019)
  • OIG Reports California Nursing Homes are Poorly Prepared for Emergencies
    An alarming new report – California Should Improve Its Oversight of Selected Nursing Homes' Compliance With Federal Requirements for Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness – by the federal HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) states California nursing home residents are at increased risk of injury or death during a fire or other emergency due to widespread violations of critical safety standards. In examining emergency preparedness at 20 unnamed California nursing homes from September to December 2018, OIG found serious violations at every nursing home, including 188 violations of emergency preparedness requirements and 137 violations of life safety requirements. One of the nursing homes OIG inspected was later destroyed by a wildfire, illustrating the grave risks facing California nursing home residents today.

    The report states the violations were caused by poor management and high staff turnover. OIG also pointed the finger at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for poor enforcement of emergency preparedness standards. It recommended CDPH conduct more follow-up visits at non-compliant nursing homes to ensure they are prepared for emergencies. CDPH, which often seems to tolerate dangerous conditions in nursing homes, rejected the recommendation. Read California Healthline’s November 14, 2019 article on the OIG report.

    click to read more
    (posted December 3, 2019)
  • Health Journal Article Says Nursing Homes Violate Human Rights
    A new article in the International Journal of Health Services analyzes the state of nursing home care in the U.S. and finds systemic violations of domestic laws and regulations and international human rights standards. After reviewing various recent studies and nursing home data, the authors cite abuse, sexual assaults, chemical restraints, persistent understaffing, and various forms of neglect to conclude residents are not protected as required under international standards. In fact, some severe forms of abuse or neglect “could be considered torture.” The authors call for increasing enforcement of domestic rules and zero tolerance for facilities and facility owners that cause repeated abuse or neglect to address the urgent human rights crisis in America’s nursing homes.
    (posted December 3, 2019)
  • Ways & Means Committee Holds Hearing on Care Needs of Aging Americans
    On November 14, 2019, the Ways & Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing – Caring for Aging Americans – that addressed major problems with America’s long-term care system and systemic changes that are needed to fix them. Several witnesses presented testimony on issues including the plight of caregivers, poor enforcement of nursing home standards, elder justice concerns, dementia and hospice care, the need to improve our eldercare system, and more. Their statements are available on the Ways & Means website. Click here to watch the hearing.
    (posted December 3, 2019)
  • 2020 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles
    On November 8, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2020 Medicare Parts A and B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts. Consumers will pay more in 2020 than in 2019, including an increase in the coinsurance under Medicare Part A for days 21-100 of a skilled nursing facility stay to $176 per day ($170.50 in 2019).
    (posted December 3, 2019)
  • Replacement Medication, Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment for Medi-Cal Recipients Impacted by Wildfires and Power Shutoffs
    On October 31, 2019, in response to the Governor’s proclamation of a statewide emergency due to the risk of wildfires, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) issued updated guidance for dispensing replacement medication(s) to impacted recipients. On November 7, 2019, DHCS provided additional guidance for dispensing medical supplies and durable medical equipment.
    (posted December 3, 2019)
  • California Nursing Homes Near Worst in Nation in Nursing Home Complaints
    An October report by the federal HHS Office of Inspector General reveals that California nursing homes have one of the highest complaint rates in the nation. The report, Trends in Nursing Home Complaints (2016-2018), shows California nursing homes had the fifth highest rate of complaints in 2018, 80.9 complaints per 1,000 nursing home residents. Only Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Washington nursing homes had higher rates of complaints. Equally concerning, the data shows the number of complaints filed against California nursing homes increased greatly every year since 2011 and more than doubled since 2012, when California nursing homes averaged 40 complaints per 1,000 nursing home residents.
    (posted October 31, 2019)
  • An open letter to Governor Newsom & Attorney General Becerra Imploring an End to Nursing Home Resident Dumping
    Click here to read the full letter.
    (posted October 31, 2019)
  • CMS Adds Icon to Nursing Home Compare to Warn Public of Abuse
    On October 23, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added a new abuse icon to its Nursing Home Compare website. The icon’s purpose is to alert the public to nursing homes that have been cited for an abuse violation in the past year or over each of the past two years, depending on the level of harm. The abuse icon looks like this.

    Initially, 56 of California’s 1193 Medicare and/or Medi-Cal certified nursing facilities – about 5 percent – have the abuse icon. Although it is good that CMS is alerting the public about abuse findings at these facilities, consumers should be aware that nursing homes without an abuse icon might also have histories of abuse.
    (posted October 24, 2019)
  • Nursing Homes Not Only Industry Protected by the Department of Public Health
    A fascinating October 1, 2019 article by Capital & Main describes how the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) betrayed the public beyond those living in nursing homes (whom it routinely betrays). The article focuses on how it helped lobbyists defeat legislation that would protect the public from lead poisoning and questions CDPH’s commitment to protecting public health in California. More broadly, it reveals that siding with the very industries it is charged with regulating is standard operating procedure at CDPH.

    Who led this betrayal of public interests?
    Until June 2019, when Governor Newsom forced her to resign, CDPH was led by Karen Smith. Under her leadership, Smith not only coddled regulated industries, she “owned, at various times, anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to up to $1.5 million in stock of pesticide manufacturers, health care and long-term nursing companies, cellphone manufacturers and air-polluting oil producers.” In 2018, CANHR called for Smith to be replaced due to conflicts of interest and for deplorable policies and practices that harmed nursing home residents.

    On September 13, 2019, Governor Newsom appointed Sonia Angell of New York to replace Smith. CANHR hopes that Dr. Angell has been charged with reversing CDPH’s corrupt culture and transforming it into a consumer protection agency.

    click to read more (posted October 21, 2019)
  • Reforming AB 1629: No More Blank Checks for California Nursing Home Chains
    Next year, California’s controversial and extraordinarily expensive reimbursement system for skilled nursing facilities – known as AB 1629 – will sunset. Reauthorizing AB 1629 offers a rare chance to redesign the failed reimbursement system to serve residents’ interests.

    Instead of improved resident care, AB 1629 has produced billionaire owners, scandalous abuse and neglect, rampant discrimination against Medi-Cal beneficiaries and over a billion dollars per year in new General Fund costs while home and community-based services faced relentless cuts.

    It is time to start over and create a reimbursement system that does not rely on blind trust with California’s disreputable nursing home chains. CANHR has issued a report, “Bad Deal, Bad Care,” to explain the problems with AB 1629 and to list the reforms available to the state to ensure that nursing home reimbursement is finally tied to quality care and fits properly into a long term care system that maximizes consumer well-being.
    click to read our full report (posted October 11, 2019)
  • Bugs, Mold and Unwashed Hands: Rampant Safety Violations in Nursing Home Kitchens Endanger Residents
    A disturbing article published by FairWarning on October 3, 2019 describes rampant violations of food safety standards by nursing homes that are endangering residents throughout the nation. Among its revelations are that a third of all nursing homes were cited for food safety deficiencies in 2018 but the federal government almost never imposes penalties for these violations. The article also addresses the Trump Administration's proposed rollback of nursing home standards, which would gut the qualifications for nursing home directors of food and nutrition services.
    (posted October 03, 2019)
  • DHCS Confirms Nursing Facility Residents with Intermediate Care Needs Are Eligible for Medi-Cal Coverage
    On September 3, 2019, the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) issued an alert clarifying that Medi-Cal coverage is available for residents who need “intermediate care,” not just for those who required “skilled” care. This confirmation became necessary because CenCal Health, a Medi-Cal health plan serving San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, has aggressively sought to deny Medi-Cal coverage to nursing facility residents on the basis of its assessments that they do not need “skilled” care. The DHCS alert helpfully confirms that nursing facility residents on Medi-Cal are allowed to remain while either intermediate or skilled care services are needed.
    CANHR is working with an advocacy coalition to seek broader solutions to increasing coverage denials that are caused by the combination of outdated Medi-Cal regulations on nursing facility coverage and perverse financial incentives for Medi-Cal health plans to cut costs by denying nursing facility care to their members who need it.
    click to read more
    (posted October 03, 2019)
  • New Medicare Payment System for Skilled Nursing Facilities Takes Effect
    On October 1, 2019, Medicare is implementing a new payment system for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) that is called the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM). How “patient driven” the complicated payment system is (or is not) remains to be seen. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) claims it will change the financial incentives for SNFs to better serve residents.
    Advocates expect that many skilled nursing facilities will aggressively game the new system to serve their financial interests rather than residents’ needs. A particular concern is that Medicare beneficiaries will receive less therapy than they do now and that SNFs have an incentive to replace individual therapy services with less effective but cheaper group therapy services. Another concern is that skilled nursing facilities will cut off Medicare coverage and push out Medicare beneficiaries even faster than they do now. CANHR is interested in hearing from Medicare beneficiaries on their experiences with nursing home coverage under PDPM. click to read more
    (posted October 03, 2019)
  • Drug Company to Pay $116 Million for Kickback Conspiracy to Push Nuedexta on Nursing Home Residents with Dementia
    On September 26, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Avanir, a drug company based in California, had agreed to pay $116 million in criminal and civil penalties to resolve charges that it paid kickbacks and engaged in other illegal activities to market Nuedexta as a treatment for elders with dementia. The settlement resolves multiple whistleblower cases concerning the widespread use of Nuedexta to chemically restrain nursing home residents with dementia, which CNN first brought to public attention in its October 2017 story, The little red pill being pushed on the elderly. Nuedexta is only approved to treat a rare neurological condition, pseudobulbar affect, that is characterized by uncontrollable laughing and crying. However, the government alleged that Avanir successfully capitalized on national efforts to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs on dementia patients in nursing homes by aggressively marketing Nuedexta as a substitute method of controlling residents’ behaviors that would go unnoticed by regulators. According to the DOJ’s press release, the scheme worked so well that one doctor (a paid speaker for Nuedexta) had put entire units of residents on Nuedexta at a nursing home where he worked. The settlement may not be strong enough to deter future misconduct by other drug companies. CNN’s story on the Avanir settlement reports that Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program spent roughly $225 million on Nuedexta in 2017, up more than 700% from five years earlier. click to read more
    (posted October 03, 2019)
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