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⭒ News & Notes Archive

June 2019

In this Issue

Momentum for Community-Based Alternatives to Nursing Homes

On June 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act (H.R. 3253). The bill contains a 4.5 year extension of spousal impoverishment protections for home and community-based services (HCBS), as well as the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. Both of these programs give states like California more flexibility to use Medicaid dollars to provide care in community-based settings, rather than institutional settings like nursing homes.  Earlier this year, Congress extended both MFP and the spousal impoverishment protection through September 30th.

SB 314 Signed Into Law

CANHR, along with the Consumer Attorneys of California, achieved a legislative victory when Governor Gavin Newsom signed our co-sponsored bill, SB 314 (Dodd), into law.  SB 314 establishes a new private cause of action for elders and dependent adults who have been abandoned by their caretakers. The impetus of SB 314 came after the fires in Sonoma County which saw caregivers fleeing ahead of the flames leaving their aged and enfeebled wards to their fates. It was only the heroic actions of family members and strangers breaking into the facility and hauling the residents out that averted a major tragedy.  Because the threat of civil liability has the power to move owners and operators of facilities to better plan for the future safety of their residents, SB 314 provides much-needed protection for vulnerable elders and dependent adults.

Report Outs Secret List of Nation’s Worst Performing Nursing Homes 

On June 3, 2019, U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania released a report and a list of over 400 nursing homes that are candidates for the federal Special Focus Facility (SFF) program. The SFF program provides increased oversight of nursing homes that “substantially fail” to meet required care standards. These facilities are considered to be among the worst performing nursing homes in the nation. Currently, 28 California nursing homes are SFF candidates and 6 facilities are SFF participants. Read More

Dozens of Worst-Run Nursing Homes Have Federally Subsidized Mortgages

Following closely on the heels of U.S. Senators Casey and Toomey’s report on the 400 worst-run nursing homes that are candidates for the special focus facility program, the New York Times reported on June 24, 2019 that 74 of these facilities are being propped up by mortgages insured against default by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Six of the 74 nursing homes are in California.

Labor Exploiters Operating RCFEs in California

A new exposé from Reveal focuses on illegal labor practices in California assisted living facilities, also known as RCFEs (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly).  The article reveals a shocking number of illegal labor cases where caregivers are exploited to supply facility operators with luxury goods and other wealth. The caregivers, often new immigrants with few resources, feel compelled to accept adverse working conditions and wages that are only one half to one quarter of the minimum wage. 

CANHR is currently sponsoring AB 737 (Eggman) to empower the Department of Social Services to connect LLCs or other companies back to their individual owners, and to stop bad actors from controlling RCFEs, exploiting workers, and harming residents. Read more.

OIG Investigation Finds that Nursing Home Abuse is Rarely Reported

A disturbing June 2019 report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the federal Department of Health and Human Services revealed that skilled nursing facilities failed to report 84 percent of cases of suspected abuse involving high-risk emergency hospitalizations of residents. The misleadingly-titled report, Incidents of Potential Abuse and Neglect at Skilled Nursing Facilities Were Not Always Reported and Investigated, describes evidence of abuse in hospital records that is routinely ignored and exposes how little states and the federal government are doing to identify and prevent abuse of nursing home residents.

The report follows a public warning the OIG released on August 24, 2017 that evidence of sexual assaults and other serious crimes are often ignored by nursing homes and officials charged with protecting residents from abuse. Read the Consumer Voice’s June 17, 2019 statement on the OIG findings.

Nursing Home Violation of the Month 

Long Beach Healthcare Center Cited for Severe Neglect in Death of Resident

On February 1, 2019, the California Department of Public Health issued a Class AA citation to Long Beach Healthcare Center and fined it $100,000 for neglect that led to the death of a long-time resident. 

On August 30, 2018, paramedics took the resident to the hospital where she was admitted to the ICU due to respiratory failure and a severely distended abdomen. The resident had no bowel movement for seven days but no assessment was done. The facility did not develop a care plan for her catheter. It did not monitor her as her condition deteriorated. The facility failed to call 911 or consult with her physician when her condition changed. 

Her family member stated: “…On the morning that she was transferred to the hospital, she was so dirty with a very bad odor and her abdomen was as large as a nine-month pregnant woman… She was transferred late to the hospital, and if the facility had transferred her out to the hospital on time, her condition would have been better.” Read more

CANHR on the Move

On May 31st, 2019, CANHR’s Senior Staff Attorney Prescott Cole spoke at “Closing the Gap on Elder Abuse” – a training co-hosted by CDAA and CANHR. Left to Right: Prescott Cole, Kimberly Swierenga and Joel Bryant.

Elder Law Conference 2019

CANHR’s 2019 Elder Law Conference has been scheduled for November 22 & 23 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey. Come and gather in a beautiful place and catch up with colleagues, while keeping up with changes in Elder Law. Details for the conference and registration information will be sent soon and posted on CANHR’s website. Meanwhile, Save these Dates: November 22 & 23, 2019.