Changes are on the way for nursing homes and California assisted living facilities. In the midst of shifts to the law, victims of nursing home abuse are filing a class action lawsuit against the owner of 57 skilled nursing facilities in the state, according to an article from Courthouse News Service. The owner, Schlomo Rechnitz, owns more facilities in the state than any other, with nursing homes in nine different California cities, according to a recent report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Rechnitz’s facilities are accused of “chronic understaffing” with allegations of “Actual or suspected abuse or neglect.”
Details of the Class Action Lawsuit
The lawsuit was filed after several years of investigation into the practices at many of Rechnitz’s facilities. Rechnitz owns Brius Management and Brius LLC, and he owns nursing homes in Inglewood, Los Angeles, Norwalk, Pasadena, San Gabriel, and several other California cities.
According to the lawsuit, investigators discovered that “Rechnitz and his corporate entities hid their history of violating nursing industry laws and regulations from patients and prospective patients.” In addition, the claim alleges that Rechnitz “chronically understaffed and underfunded the facilities to enhance his profits.”
Brius issued a statement denying the allegations in the lawsuit. Specifically, the company said that it meets and even exceeds California’s staffing requirements. According to the articles reporting on the case, in terms of monetary damages, the class action calls for an unspecified amount. However, it also requests specific action to be taken by Brius and Rechnitz’s other entities, including some of the following:
- Compliance with laws governing health care facilities;
- Abiding by reporting requirements for future violations;
- Drafting a clear policy with procedural requirements when there is suspected patient abuse or neglect.
Based on a statement from Patricia McGinnis, the executive director of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), it is not surprising that Rechnitz’s facilities would have problems when it comes to nursing home abuse and neglect. According to McGinnis, “most facilities in California have issues.” Indeed, she explained, for-profit skilled nursing facilities are particularly to blame, as “their allegiance is to the investors, not to the nursing home residents.”
Related Nursing Home Abuse Claims
The class action is not the first mention of Rechnitz’s name in terms of nursing home abuse allegations. According to Michael Connors, an elder rights advocate with CANHR, Rechnitz and his Brius company were the subjects of “an emergency motion filed in August by the California Attorney General’s Office.”
That motion referred to Rechnitz as “a serial violator of rules within the skilled nursing industry.” It pointed to specific instances in which Rechnitz’s companies would not turn over materials to the California Department of Health Care Services. Connors explained that CANHR is “troubled by the poor performance factors and by the high number of deficiencies” in Rechnitz’s facilities, and the advocacy group worries that older adults in these nursing homes are not receiving the proper quality of care.
If you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home in Southern California, it is important to ensure that your loved one stays safe and receives the care that she or he needs. If you suspect that an older adult has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney.
Photo Credit: mconnors via morgueFile
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