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State is Slow to Collect Nursing Home Fines

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Aired 6/24/09

A nursing home in Encinitas has become the latest facility to get a $100,000 fine for conditions that led to a patient's death. State officials concede collecting these fines can take years.

— A nursing home in Encinitas has become the latest facility to get a $100,000 fine for conditions that led to a patient's death. State officials concede collecting these fines can take years.

State regulators reserve the $100,000, or AA fine for the most severe violations of health and safety codes.

Nursing homes have the right to appeal the fine. And most do so.

In 2007, the state issued more than $2 million worth of AA fines. To date, the state has collected less than ten percent.

Pat McGinnis directs the non-profit California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

"Because the department doesn't have enough attorneys, their appeal system is broken right now, they don't even have enough administrative law judges to process the appeals," says McGinnis.

State officials say a nursing home can lose its license if it gets two AA fines within a 24-month period.

Comments

Avatar for user 'DeborahCalvert'

DeborahCalvert | July 5, 2009 at 1:38 p.m. ― 5 years, 2 months ago

Sun Healthcare produces profits at the cost of manslaughter and elder abuse.

Medical review written by Dr L Scott Stoney in Newport Beach, California:

There are several incidences of concern in this patients' case which should be noticed. The frequency of her recurrent pneumonia is concerning as well as the type of pneumonia which she developed were concerning. The infection incidence at Sunbridge Newport was monitored quarterly and it was noted over the national average during infection control meeting in the final quarter of the year 2003. As I was medical director for this facility I had request further evaluation by the staff to the etiology of this occurrence within the facility. Multiple families had complained about this problem. Unfortunately, the administration did not take due diligence in ameliorating this problem in 2003. Lack of sufficient ventilation contributes to pneumonia. This was a sentinel event; however the administration continued to give both patients families and the undersigned a variety of excuses why it was "taking some time" to fix this problem. Upon review of the medical record, it is medically probably that this patients recurrent pneumonia (especially MRSA) was related to the physical facility.
There is another incidence of concern. Blood pressure monitoring cuffs which were not working in Sunbridge Newport in 2003. This, again, was a sentinel event and of grave concern. As medical director, this was an extraordinary event which prompted my immediate reaction as Medical Director to request the administration immediately order new blood pressure equipment for the safety of the patients within the facility. I was subsequently directly in contact from my Newport Beach private practice office with Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Special Agent Supervisor Joseph Fendrick to discuss this matter.
Unfortunately this was too late for Mrs. Evelyn Calvert, she arrived 7/16/04 to the emergency room in again respiratory distress and she died.
Due to the limited response of the administration to meet patient needs, I resigned from Sunbridge Newport Rehabilitation in March, 2004 and gave sixty day notice of my termination as Medical Director from the facility. It is my opinion, as a Board Certified physician ..... that this patients death is within medical probability aggravated or in causation by the failure of the ventilator system within Sunbridge Newport as well as the failure of the blood pressure monitoring devices within the facility."
end of quote.

This isn't rocket science.

Deborah Calvert daughter of the late Evelyn Calvert
and former assistant to Buzz Aldrin

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