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Articles Posted in Riverside Nursing Home

The Walton Law Firm elder abuse and neglect lawsuit filed against Vista Hospital of Riverside was the subject of a front page story in the Press Enterprise newspaper today.

The lawsuit arises out of the improper care provided to 78-year-old Shirley Buffa, who died after the hospital failed to administer dialysis treatments necessary to treat her diabetes. According to her son, Marine Corp. veteran Robert Buffa, his mother became increasingly sick in the days after she was admitted to the hospital, but the hospital attributed the decline in her health to a reaction to antibiotics. When the mistake was realized, it was too late.

At that point, she couldn’t even talk,” Robert Buffa said. “I said, ‘Mom, I love you. How come you can’t open your eyes?'”

Southern California legislators are supporting a proposal that would require nursing homes to post their ratings on the front door, much like health grades are posted at restaurants. Yesterday, Assembly Bill 215 was introduced in the California legislature to require that any nursing home that receive federal money to prominently display the rating it received under the federal government’s recently unveiled five-star rating system.

“Posting nursing home grades is crucial to ensuring our loved ones receive the high quality of care they deserve,” State Representative Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “This legislation will give families valuable information and provide an additional incentive to facilities to achieve the highest standards.”

Last month, Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously to require that any nursing facility that receives Medicare and Medi-Cal funding to post their ratings, and inform all new residents of the rating. The ratings are based on federal inspections, using three years worth of data.

Nursing Home Compare, a five-star rating system used to rate nursing homes nationwide, has been updated and upgraded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The updated website (click here) is intended to make choosing a nursing home easier for searching, and will hopefully have the effect of “outing” those poor nursing facilities that continually under-perform.

This is good news for consumers and nursing home advocates, and elder abuse lawyers. It is also sorely needed. U.S. Census figures project that the number of Americans over 65 will double by 2030, and two-thirds of those will require some period of nursing home care.

The California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is the state program responsible to investigate and resolve complaints made by individuals (or their representatives) residing in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Last week, when the California budget was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, he cut state funding for the ombudsman program.

The decision has not gone over well with elder care advocates. The governor’s cuts removes roughly 15% of the budget for the program, which translates into a loss of 1.25 of every 3.7 positions.

To contact your local ombudsman’s office call the appropriate telephone number in the geographical area the incident leading to the complaint occurred.

This list contains the issuance of citations to Southern California nursing facilities by the California Department of Public Health over the last six months. All the citations listed are issued for reasons related to patient care. For verification of the citation, please contact the local department office or Walton Law Firm LLP.

<font size='2'Facility Date Citation
Los Angeles County Elder Abuse
Brighton Convalescent Center 05/23/08 Class B
Heritage Manor 03/7/08 Class B
Imperial Convalescent Hosp 03/26/08 Class B
Ramona Care Center 05/23/08 Class B
Studio City Rehabilitation Center 02/21/08 Class A
Villa Oaks Convalescent 06/23/08 Class B
Windsor Convalescent Long Beach. 05/22/08 Class B
Windsor Palms Artesia 05/23/08 Class A
Orange County
Evergreen Fullerton Healthcare 04/15/08 Class B
French Park Care Center 05/20/08 Class B
Kindred Healthcare of Orange 04/29/08 Class B
New Orange Hills 04/16/08 Class B
Parkview Healthcare 04/15/08 Class AA
Riverside County
Cypress Gardens 06/10/08 Class AA
San Diego County
Edgemoor Geriatric Hosp. 06/26/08 Class A
Cypress Gardens Rehabilitation 03/20/08 Class A
Lemon Grove Care & Rehab. 07/16/08 Class B
Villa Las Palmas 07/01/08 Class B
Vista Healthcare 04/11/08 Class B
Santa Barbara Nursing Home Neglect
La Cumbre Senior Living 07/24/08 Class B & A
Country Oaks Care Center 5/20/08 Class B

Class AA: The most serious violation, AA citations are issued when a resident death has occurred in such a way that it has been directly and officially attributed to the responsibility of the facility, and carry fines of $25,000 to $100,000.

Class A: Class A citations are issued when violations present imminent danger to patients or the substantial probability of death or serious harm, and carry fines from $2,000 to $20,000.

Class B: Class B citations carry fines from $100 to $1000 and are issued for violations which have a direct or immediate relationship to health, safety, or security, but do not qualify as A or AA citations.

We are frequently asked how nursing home neglect or abuse can be prevented. There is no magic answer, but there are things one can do to lessen the odds that a loved one will be subject to physical neglect, financial abuse, or suffer the decline in health caused by poor care. The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform have published a guide for preventing abuse in long-term care facilities. How does one increase the odds there will be no abuse or neglect?

1. Be very supportive of the transfer to a nursing home. Under most circumstances, the initial entrance to a nursing facility will engender feelings of loss or abandonment. Visit frequently to help with the adjustment.

2. Make the most of visits. Visit frequently, and at different times. Also visit during meal time. This will give you a more complete picture of care and the performance of staff.

This list contains the issuance of citations to Southern California nursing facilities by the California Department of Public Health over the last six months. All the citations listed are issued for reasons related to patient care. For verification of the citation, please contact the local department office or Walton Law Firm LLP.

<font size='2'Facility Date Citation
Los Angeles County
Alden Terrace Convalescent Hosp. 04/09/08 Class B
Chandler Convalescent 02/13/08 Class A
Chatsworth Park Care Center 03/13/08 Class B
Country Villa Park Marino 01/28/08 Class B(3)
Country Villa Pavilion Nursing 03/19/08 Class B
Ember Health Care 01/31/08 Class AA
Gardena Convalescent Hosp. 02/05/08 Class B
Heritage Manor 03/07/08 Class B
Imperial Convalescent 03/27/08 Class B
Lancaster Health Care Center 02/13/08 Class A
Oceanview Convalescent 02/20/08 Class B
Royal Oaks Care Center 12/11/07 Class B
Sophia Lyn Convalescent 04/14/08 Class B
St. John of God Retirement 02/27/08 Class B
Studio City Rehabilitation 04/02/08 Class A
Sunnyview Care Center 04/29/08 Class B
Tarzana Health and Rehab. 02/13/08 Class A
Whittier Hills Health Care Center 01/07/08 Class B
Windsor Palms Care Center of Artesia 04/15/08 Class B
Orange County
Country Villa Plaza Convalescent 03/12/08 Class B
Fountain Care Center 03/13/08 Class B
Newport Subacute Healthcare 02/06/08 Class A
Palm Terrace Healthcare & Rehab Center 02/01/08 Class AA
Park Regency Care Center 04/11/08 Class B
San Bernardino County Elder Abuse
Cherry Valley Healthcare 02/14/08 Class B
Country Villa Rancho Mirage 02/05/08 Class A(2)
Cypress Gardens Rehabilitation 03/20/08 Class A
The Springs At The Carlotta 03/21/08 Class AA
San Diego County
Children’s Convalescent Hospital 02/21/08 Class B
Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital 05/09/08 Class B
Point Loma Convalescent Hosp. 03/10/08 Class B
Ventura County
Brighton Gardens of Camirillo. 4/16/08. Class B

Class AA: The most serious violation, AA citations are issued when a resident death has occurred in such a way that it has been directly and officially attributed to the responsibility of the facility, and carry fines of $25,000 to $100,000.

Class A: Class A citations are issued when violations present imminent danger to patients or the substantial probability of death or serious harm, and carry fines from $2,000 to $20,000.

Class B: Class B citations carry fines from $100 to $1000 and are issued for violations which have a direct or immediate relationship to health, safety, or security, but do not qualify as A or AA citations.

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