According to a recent story from ABC 7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles, “California’s largest nursing home chain has come under fire from government regulators, facing a flurry of citations and penalties.” Indeed, Brius Healthcare Services will have to account for the numerous elder abuse allegations against its facilities across the state.
Serious Violations in Brius Health Services Facilities
Over the course of the past year, Brius facilities have been investigated by the police, they’ve been sued for nursing home abuse, and they’ve been the target of investigations conducted by state and federal agencies that have issued violations. The company has 81 facilities in California, and they cover a wide expanse of the state. Indeed, the facilities stretch from “San Diego to Roseville to Eureka.”
What has led to the current scrutiny over these facilities when they’ve been identified as risky locations for nursing home residents long before now? According to the Sacramento Bee, the “final straw” for government regulators occurred when Courtney Cargill, a suicidal nursing home resident in Pasadena, checked herself out of the facility without any attention from the staff.
After she left the facility, Cargill purchased a gallon of gasoline, doused herself in the liquid, and lit herself on fire. She died less than a day later, the newspaper reported, “with second- and third-degree burns over 90 percent of her body.” After Cargill’s death, government regulators “decertified South Pasadena Convalescent in January and yanked its Medicare and Medi-Cal funding.” And that’s only one of the recent regulatory actions taken against Brius.
Who is to blame for the numerous nursing home abuse and neglect violations in the Brius facilities? Some commentators point to the owner of the chain, Schlomo Rechnitz, and his limited understanding of running residences for the elderly.
Newcomer Nursing Home Owner
Rechnitz has become the owner of many California nursing facilities in a relatively short time. To be sure, he has acquired all of the 81 facilities since 2006, “many of them through bankruptcy court.” The Sacramento Bee reported that Rechnitz’s chain has “grown so quickly that he now controls about 1 in every 14 nursing home beds in California, giving him an outsized influence on quality of care in the state.” With Rechnitz’s relative inexperience in managing these facilities, some elder advocates argue that the owner isn’t ensuring the proper quality of care in the many nursing homes he owns.
According to Molly Davies, the administrator of the long-term care ombudsman program in Los Angeles, “what we’re seeing at the Brius locations is quite concerning.” Davies elaborated about how her program has “seen patterns of poor care, patterns of substandard care in some of these facilities.” To be sure, Davies indicated that members of her staff reported witnessing a “flagrant disregard for human life in some Brius-owned facilities.”
In the last five years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has only decertified six nursing home facilities (out of more than 1,200 licensed in the state). Three of those facilities—a whopping 50 percent of the total—belonged to Rechnitz. Decertification is a serious punishment—an “economic kiss of death that is extremely rare.”
Brius is now facing serious sanctions for the violations that have occurred at its facilities throughout California. We’ll need to wait and see whether many of these nursing homes remain in business.
Contact a San Diego Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you have concerns about nursing home abuse and neglect at a Brius facility, you should contact an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. An advocate at the Walton Law Firm can help with your case.
Photo Credit: ericmcgregor via Compfight cc
See Related Blog Posts:
Paramedics and Elder Abuse Reporting