"Placerville Pines Care Center hit with $100,000 fine"
By Anna Tong
Oct. 28, 2009
The California Department of Public Health has fined the Placerville Pines Care Center $100,000 for a 2006 incident in which one of its patients died.
Along with the state's stiffest fine, the Placerville skilled nursing facility received an "AA" citation, the most severe penalty under state law.
Skilled nursing facilities care for patients who do not need acute hospital care but still require the skills of professional personnel such as nurses.
The El Dorado County facility will "vigorously contest" the penalty, according to Placerville Pines' prepared statement. "Placerville Pines has consistently maintained regulatory compliance," it said.
In summer 2006, a male patient arrived at Placerville Pines after being discharged from a hospital, according to the state health investigation. The state declined to reveal the patient's identity.
The patient stayed for several months, and when his condition took a turn for the worse, Placerville Pines staff failed take any action on several occasions, the state said.
A doctor was not called until a visiting family member noticed that the patient was "difficult to arouse, unable to speak coherently," the state said.
By the time the patient arrived at the emergency room, he was semiconscious, dehydrated and had low blood pressure. He died as a direct consequence of Placerville Pines' negligence, according to the state investigation.
This is the second fine Placerville Pines has received this month. On Oct. 1, the facility received a "B" class citation and a $1,000 fine for keeping a loaded gun in an unlocked office for more than four years.
According to the investigation, an administrator had joked about having a pistol in a drawer, and nobody could remember how it got there.
California state penalties against health care facilities range from $100 to $100,000.
The Department of Public Health would revoke licenses of facilities that receive two "AA" citations within a 24-month period.