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San Jose Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

In the state of California, nursing homes are required to provide specific types of care, and in specific amounts. For example, every skilled nursing facility, meaning a facility that partners with a local emergency service location and is certified by Medi-Cal, must provide at least three hours of healthcare to every patient, every day.

The state average is just under two hours, according to the Department of Public Health. This number is reflected in the many cases of elder abuse that have come to light around the state. In the San Jose area, cases of elder abuse have led to multiple court trials in recent years.

Watsonville Nursing Homes

In Watsonville, also located in Santa Cruz County, two nursing homes are paying a combined total of 3.8 million dollars to the state, after being found guilty of providing substandard healthcare to Medi-Cal patients. The lawsuit was filed nearly eight months ago, citing gross misconduct.

The complaints included allegations that the nursing home was wrongfully using narcotics and antipsychotic drugs to treat patients with depression, complaints of pain, or dementia. These patients were not seen by their doctors, nor prescribed these medications. The allegations claimed that records were falsified in order to cover up the medicating, and to hide the reports of side effects.

The Office of Inspector General reported that in addition to the massive fines, these nursing homes near San Jose would be forced to allow yearly investigations and monitoring for the next five years, to ensure the safety of their patients.

Milpitas Care Center

Just north of San Jose, in Milpitas, CA, another nursing care facility has undergone a similar investigation. When 90-year-old Carolina Ladao’s family filed a complaint that the nursing home was directly responsible for the premature death of the woman, the DPH revealed that this isn’t the first time the Milpitas Care Center has been the center of controversy.

In light of the heavy economic damages the family suffered while attempting to save Ladao’s life, lawyers are seeking up to 500,000 dollars from the nursing home, well beyond the state’s cap of 250,000 for non-economic damages. In addition to seeking retribution for the neglect and abuse suffered by Ladao, the civil suit filed by the DPH claims that the Milpitas facility has siphoned federal money, to the tune of 300,000 dollars, away from their operations, which has led to underpaid staff and short-staffing problems, leading to the neglect seen by Ladao. The verdict in the Ladao case is still being deliberated as more evidence comes to light.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

One way that families and victims of elder abuse can seek help is by contacting the California Long Term Care Ombudsman. This program is a part of the Older Californians Act, a 1965 law that established tax funded services to help regulate the care of elders in the state. They advocate for elder rights, and set in motion policies that help govern long term care facilities.

The best way to contact your local Ombudsman is to call the hotline at 800-231-4024, or to find your county on their website. San Diego’s direct hotline is 858-495-5885. This will put you in touch with the programs that can help you report abuse and begin an investigation into any suspected cases of abuse or neglect.

The state of California also provides legal assistance programs for those elderly patients who have legal problems concerning elder abuse, nursing homes, and many other matters. This legal assistance is offered through the California Department of Aging, which also oversees issues dealing with Medi-Cal and insurance.

Sources:

 

http://www.aging.ca.gov/

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28179110/santa-cruz-county-nursing-homes-pay-3-8

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/milpitas/ci_28751892/milpitas-care-facility-fined-following-elderly-womans-death

 

http://www.c4a.info/

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