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I applaud Gallegos' intervention

Redwood Times
Ocotober 6, 2010

To the Editor:

On behalf of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, CANHR, I want to applaud Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos' intervention in the Skilled Healthcare case and the resulting permanent injunction that will ensure that current and future Skilled Healthcare residents are afforded better care.

Much of the attention on this case has focused on the historic multi-million dollar jury award against Skilled Healthcare, and - in the business media - on the effect of that verdict on Skilled Healthcare's stock. Although the case was ultimately settled for significantly less and the company's stock value rose again, the funds derived from this important case will provide some restitution to those residents who resided in and suffered in the named facilities.

Equally historic, however, is the permanent injunction issued against the Skilled Healthcare Group as a result of District Attorney Gallegos' intervention. The terms of the injunction, which include the appointment of a third party monitor to ensure that the staffing levels at Skilled Healthcare facilities meet the minimum staffing levels required by California law, will provide future protection to residents of those facilities.

It is our hope that District Attorney offices around the state will emulate Mr. Gallegos' actions and provide the same assurance to the elderly and disabled residents in the hundreds of other understaffed California nursing homes.

Pat McGinnis
Executive Director
San Francisco