California Attorney General Files Criminal Charges against Facilities Owned by State’s Largest Nursing Home Care Providers
Written by Jeff Meyer on September 1, 2015
Verdugo Valley owner Shlomo Rechnitz, California’s largest owner and operator of a nursing homes across the state, is now facing significant scrutiny from the California Attorney General in light of a recent death of a patient under the care of one of his facilities. James Populus, a long-term burn victim requiring near-constant medical attention since enduring burns over ninety percent of his body nearly two decades ago, died while under the care of Verdugo Valley in August of 2014. According to a criminal complaint filed by the state, the Southern California nursing facility failed to provide a reasonable standard of care in the case of Mr. Populus, culminating ultimately in his death. Specifically, officials have charged two Verdugo Valley officials criminally, while citing the grossly negligent and substandard care in their treatment of Mr. Populus. Likewise, the Verdugo Valley facility itself faces charges under involuntary manslaughter laws in the state of California that seek to ultimately remove the facility from any future eligibility for federal or state funding in relation to its practices as a nursing home or healthcare facility.
For Rechnitz, the owner of the suburban Montrose Verdugo Valley and other nursing home locations across the state, the recent spate of criminal charges only augments an ongoing pattern of problems with his facilities. Both state and federal healthcare officials have investigated multiple Rechnitz-owned facilities in California, while ultimately electing to remove the certification of at least three elder care facilities in addition to the ongoing attempts to do so regarding Verdugo Valley. In all cases, officials have alleged substandard care and poor quality facilities across the entire facility, while augmenting their claims against the nursing homes with case-specific incidents that highlight the egregiously low-level of care provided to residents.
The case of Mr. Populus at Verdugo Valley is no exception to this long-standing pattern of substandard care at Rechnitz-owned facilities. Per the California criminal complaint, Populus ultimately succumbed to an otherwise preventable combination of multiple organ system failure due to septicemia, alongside an advanced case of pneumonia, while also exhibiting sever malnourishment. During his fourteen-month residence at the Verdugo Valley facility, Mr. Populus did not receive basic requisite medical visits for his condition, and in turn, state officials seek to hold individual nursing home facility officials and the facility itself accountable for willfully permitting the death of Mr. Populus.
For more information on how to respond to suspicions or known cases of ongoing nursing home abuse or fraud, consult with the state of California resources below. Additionally, if your loved one or relative is potentially in danger in light of suspected elder care abuse, it is highly advisable to consult directly with an attorney to ensure their legal and medical rights are protected.