Oakmont Senior Living has reached a settlement with the California Department of Social Services related to evacuations that took place during 2017 wildfires.
Windsor, California-based Oakmont has planned and developed more than 50 communities on the West Coast, and operates 24 communities in California and one in Nevada. Two of its continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) were in the path of the Tubbs fire that swept through the northern California city of Santa Rosa in Oct. 2017. Four Oakmont buildings had to be evacuated and one of them, Villa Capri, burned down.
In the fire’s aftermath, Oakmont faced a lawsuit brought by 17 residents and family members, alleging that the company had mishandled the evacuations. That lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount last August.
State regulators also have been investigating the circumstances around the evacuations. They were set to share their findings next month at a public hearing before an administrative law judge. That hearing will no longer take place, in light of the settlement that was finalized on Nov. 19.
In the 17-page agreement, Oakmont and the Department of Social Services agreed to several findings related to the circumstances of the evacuations. Additionally, under terms of the settlement, Oakmont will retain its licenses to operate, administrators at the Santa Rosa communities will keep their jobs, and the company has agreed to upgrade its emergency protocols and training while under closer supervision from the state for the next two years.
Oakmont provided the following statement about the settlement to Senior Housing News:
“Oakmont Senior Living and the Department of Social Services mutually agreed to a settlement for Varenna and Villa Capri about accusations related to the Tubbs Fire, which impacted Sonoma County in October 2017. Varenna and Villa Capri will maintain normal operations, with additional oversight provided by the Department. The Department and Oakmont have a strong and longstanding relationship and the parties are committed to maintaining this relationship for the benefit of residents.”
Northern California newspaper The Press Democrat has made the settlement document available online.
Written by Tim Mullaney