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Nursing home chain settles with state over poor patient care

Hit with dozens of citations over poor patient care, a company that operates 20 nursing homes in Los Angeles County and elsewhere in California will increase its staffing levels under a settlement with the state attorney general’s office.

As part of the agreement, an independent monitor will ensure that Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. complies with state staffing laws, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris’s office said Friday.

“This is a case about neglect and abuse of California’s elders by a facility that was supposed to protect and care for them,” Harris said in a statement. “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.”

Attempts to reach a Skilled Healthcare representative for comment were unsuccessful.

According to Harris’ office, the state Department of Public Health issued 76 citations to the company’s nursing homes from 2008 to 2012. They alleged that patents had been subjected to conditions such as pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition and over-medication, largely because of inadequate staffing.

The independent monitor will conduct surprise inspections and make reports to the attorney general’s office for two years. Skilled Healthcare will pay the $350,000 annual cost of the monitor.

In addition to Los Angeles, Skilled Healthcare and its subsidiaries operate homes in Fresno, Orange, Riverside and Santa Barbara counties, with a combined 2,360 beds.


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