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⭒ New Developments

Nonprofit Newsrooms Put Spotlight on Unfit, Unlicensed Nursing Home Operators in California

On April 6, two nonprofit newsrooms in California published findings of remarkable investigations of California nursing home chains that are expanding their operations despite decisions by state regulators that they are unfit to be licensed. 

Reporters for KPCC/LAist investigated ReNew Health Group and its CEO, Crystal Solorzano, who it reports owns or is affiliated with at least 26 nursing homes throughout California. Their article – Immediate Jeopardy: Death and Neglect Inside a Troubled California Nursing Home Chain ­– reports that the chain racked up an inordinate number of citations, many for severe infractions known as “Immediate Jeopardies” related to extreme abuse and neglect of residents, such as an alleged rape, an extraordinarily unsafe discharge, and more. State regulators denied Solorzano’s request to take over nine nursing homes and moved to revoke her nursing home administrator license, yet the story reports they have not stopped her from growing the nursing home chain she founded. 

A CalMatters investigation found that state officials have let the state’s largest nursing home owner, Shlomo Rechnitz, and his companies operate 18 nursing homes for years while failing to decide whether to grant the required licenses. Furthermore, CalMatters reports that Rechnitz and his companies are operating five other skilled nursing facilities despite the Department of Public Health denying their licensure applications in 2016 due to poor track records. According to the story – California oversight of nursing homes called ‘befuddling,’ ‘broken’ – Rechnitz continued to acquire nursing homes during the pandemic.

Both stories reported that AB 1502 (Muratsuchi) – a CANHR sponsored bill to reform nursing home ownership in California – has been sidelined and will not be heard until next year.

The stories are part of ‘Unprotected,’ an ongoing series examining California’s failures on nursing home oversight, done in collaboration with other nonprofit newsrooms.