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⭒ News & Notes Archive

May 2018

In this Issue

Mercury News Exposes Plight of Santa Rosa Assisted Living Facility Residents During Wildfire

An extraordinary May 20 report by the Mercury News examines the October 2017 Wine Country fires from the perspective of body-camera videos captured by Santa Rosa police officers as they sought to warn and rescue elders threatened by the raging fires. Among other heroic actions, the videos show officers rescuing scores of residents of Oakmont of Varenna, a luxury retirement community with assisted living and memory care, with no staff or management in sight to assist in any way. Responding officers and firefighters had to break down resident doors, calm terrified residents, carry some residents down multiple flights of stairs, summon emergency transportation and evacuate residents through intense heat and smoke from nearby fires.

Read the article and view the videos
Read the investigation report of an officer who rescued Varenna residents

The Assisted Living Waiver Renewal

In May 2018, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS)  convened meetings in Northern and Southern California to discuss the Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALW) and gather stakeholder feedback in preparation for renewing the ALW program for an additional five years, once the current waiver term expires on February 28, 2019.  For more information regarding the ALW and its renewal, see the DHCS website at:

Judge Orders Los Angeles County to Halt Unlawful Practice of Terminating Patients from Medi-Cal

On May 10, 2018, a judge ordered Los Angeles County to halt its unlawful practice of terminating Medi-Cal recipients from critical coverage after failing to process their annual renewal forms. The ruling is the result of a 2016 lawsuit filed by Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Western Center on Law & Poverty, accusing the county’s Department of Public Social Services of failing to timely process renewal applications and then terminating Medi-Cal—leaving people without the health care they need and lawfully deserve—in clear violation of state law. 
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CANHR’s Factsheet of the Month

Read CANHR’s factsheet of the monthUsing California’s Spousal Impoverishment Rule for Home and Community Based ServicesIf you are a California resident seeking Medi-Cal benefits to cover the cost of in-home caregiving or other services at home, but are worried that your income or assets may be too high, the “Spousal Impoverishment Protections” described in this fact sheet may help you.
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Nursing Home Violation of the Month

Chronic Understaffing at Novato Healthcare Yields Two Weak Deficiencies: A complaint investigation found widespread concern from residents and staff about chronic understaffing at Novato Healthcare Center.  At least nine residents told similar stories of waiting hours to have call lights answered, weeks between showers, and no assistance with eating or grooming.  One resident was trapped in her bed for an hour and a half before the staff responded to her call light.  Another resident was forced to soil herself waiting for help while yet another had to lay in his waste for several hours.  For this inexcusable neglect, the facility was given two weak deficiencies, one of which was for failing to post staffing hours.  The second deficiency was for understaffing but was found to be “no harm” and “not pervasive or widespread.”  What incentive do nursing homes have to staff appropriately to meet resident needs when all they face for chronic understaffing are deficiencies with no monetary fines?

Click here to read the deficiency.