Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. will begin paying for an independent monitor that will visit its communities and make reports to California’s Attorney General as part of a settlement announced last Friday.
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said the settlement requires court-enforcable improvements of staffing levels and quality of care at the skilled nursing chain’s 20 facilities, which has 2,360 beds throughout California.
Harris has the power to appoint the independent monitor, who will conduct surprise visits and make regular reports to the Attorney General to help insure Skilled Healthcare Group is in compliance with California’s staffing laws. The monitor will conduct an ongoing evaluation of the quality of care and staffing sufficiency at all of the chain’s locations.
“This is a case about neglect and abuse of California’s elders by a facility that was supposed to protect and care for them,” said Attorney General Harris in a statement. “This agreement ensures that the elderly occupying Skilled’s 2,360 beds will receive better and higher quality care. At a time when California’s elderly population is growing twice as fast as the general population, family and friends should have peace of mind that their loved ones are being well cared for when they are in a nursing home setting.”
Skilled Healthcare Group will pay for the monitor, at a rate of about $350,000 a year. The settlement stems from the skilled nursing chain receiving 76 citations and 209 deficiencies issued by the California Department of Public Health between 2008 and 2012.
Those citations and deficiencies were issued for reasons including the provider’s failure to prevent pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition, over-medication and medication errors, deficient catheter care, urinary incontinence, and naso-gastric feeding care practices.
The Justice Departments’ Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse investigated the case and prosecuted Skilled Healthcare Group.
Written by Alyssa Gerace