In this Issue
- Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sava Nursing Home Chain for Dumping Residents
- NY Times Spotlights Bad Nursing Home Discharges
- California’s New Nursing Home Search Website Dangerously Misleading
- Human Rights Watch Report Finds Widespread Human Rights Violations in Nursing Homes
- Governor’s Budget Proposal to Increase Funding for LA County Department of Public Health Moving Forward
- Department of Public Health Issues Guidance Letters to Nursing Homes
- Tribute to Chuck Finney, KALW’s host for “Your Legal Rights”
- New Medicare Cards
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sava Nursing Home Chain for Dumping Residents
Sava Senior Care has been sued in Santa Clara County Superior Court for dumping residents to motels or other highly unsafe and inappropriate places. The centerpiece of the lawsuit is allegations that all six California nursing homes in the Sava chain routinely refuse to provide residents with an advance written notice of their discharge and their rights to contest the discharge, despite a 31-year-old law requiring such a notice.
Read our Press Release
NY Times Spotlights Bad Nursing Home Discharges
The number of calls and emails to CANHR regarding nursing home discharges has exploded in the last few years. Nursing homes are more and more cutthroat about sending residents packing when their limited Medicare rehab benefit is exhausted. A February 22, 2018 New York Times article – Complaints About Nursing Home Evictions Rise, and Regulators Take Note – reviewed some recent California cases where residents were subjected to inappropriate discharges motivated by money and enabled by lax state enforcement. The Times included a helpful second article about what residents and their representatives can do to avoid bad discharges.
California’s New Nursing Home Search Website Dangerously Misleading
On January 12, 2018, the California Department of Public Health (DPH) launched a new website – Cal Health Find – that provides highly deceptive information on the performance records of California nursing homes. CANHR strongly advises consumers not to rely on it for selecting a nursing home until DPH makes major changes and corrections to the site.
Human Rights Watch Report Finds Widespread Human Rights Violations in Nursing Homes
In its first-ever nursing home report, Human Rights Watch slams the “massive” nonconsensual drugging of residents, enabled by a government enforcement system that coddles violators. The report, “They Want Docile” and a short accompanying video are a comprehensive overview of the reasons for, and outcomes of, the terrible overuse of psychotropic drugs as chemical restraints to sedate and subdue residents.
The report led to a number of insightful news stories highlighting the chemical restraint crisis in long-term care. CNN, National Public Radio, The Associate Press, KTVU, RT.com, and the Sacramento Bee are among the media outlets that featured stories and commentaries on the report.
Governor’s Budget Proposal to Increase Funding for LA County Department of Public Health Moving Forward
Will the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health be rewarded again for its dreadful oversight of LA County nursing homes? It appears so if the Governor’s budget plan to impose a “supplemental fee” on health care facilities in the County and to extend and expand its contract is adopted. The proposal had its first hearing on February 26, 2018 by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services.
Following media reports in 2014 that it was closing nursing home complaints without investigating them and County and State audits found pervasive mismanagement, the Legislature and California Department of Public Health rewarded LA County DPH by increasing its funding by about $15 million and scaling back its duties. The new budget plan calls for restoring these duties and giving it even more money.
Department of Public Health Issues Guidance Letters to Nursing Homes
The Department of Public Health recently released a number of All Facility Letters (AFLs) to nursing homes, including the following:
• AFL 18-01 on dementia training requirements for certified nursing assistants (CNA) established by SB 449.
• AFL 18-02 on testing and maintaining diesel backup generators in compliance with federal standards.
• AFL 18-04 on the rights of families, friends and representatives of nursing home residents to establish family councils, meet privately, and make recommendations without interference or retaliation by the facility.
• AFL 18-08 on prevention and control of influenza outbreaks in long-term care facilities.
• AFL 18-10 on AB 275’s increased protections for residents during nursing home closures.
• AFL 18-12 on SB 97’s changes to minimum staffing requirements for skilled nursing facilities taking effect on July 1, 2018.
• AFL 17-27 on AB 940’s requirement that long term care facilities notify the LTC ombudsman of facility-initiated transfers or discharges.
• AFL 17-30 on standards for the Small House Skilled Nursing Facilities Pilot Program.
Tribute to Chuck Finney, KALW’s host for “Your Legal Rights”
We at CANRH were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Chuck Finney, who was for the past 30 plus years host of KALW’s “Your Legal Rights”. Over the years, many of CANHR’s staff and Lawyer Referral Service Panel attorneys had the privilege and honor of being guests on Chuck’s show. He was the perfect host. His warm-up was a pre-interview which gave him the lay of the land while putting you at ease and regardless of the topic, he would enthusiastically probe for strategies and legal nuggets to help the consumer. The questions from the callers were always an indication of how welcomed the information was and in many instances, how desperate some of their situations were. In his three decades of broadcasting, Chuck received thanks from so many thousands of people. Chuck Finney’s contribution to the advancement of good will towards the legal profession is immeasurable. His passing leaves a hole in our collective heart.
New Medicare Cards
CMS will be mailing new Medicare cards to beneficiaries between April 2018 and April 2019. The new Medicare cards will no longer include Social Security numbers. Beneficiaries should make sure their mailing address is up to date with the Social Security Administration. If beneficiaries need to update their address, they may contact Social Security at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).