Over the past several months, California residents have been hearing news about nursing homes in our state and throughout the country evicting patients for whom it is more difficult to provide care. For example, an article in Modern Healthcare emphasized that nursing home patients who are “targeted for eviction are frequently poor and suffering from dementia.” Numerous lawsuits have been filed in relation to such evictions, and a recent press release from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) suggests that elder safety advocates may be gaining ground.
Modesto Elder Care Center Cited for Evicting ‘Long-Term’ Residents
According to the press release, Avalon Care Center, a Modesto-area nursing home, has been cited for illegal patient eviction practices. The press release notes that the California Department of Public Health (DPH) recently levied “a whopping 29 citations” against the care center in Modesto “for engaging in a reprehensible and systematic illegal eviction program to force out undesirable ‘long-term’ residents.” Why did the facility evict these residents? It was not actually for some of the same reasons noted in the Modern Healthcare article mentioned above.
While allegations have been made against numerous nursing homes for evicting patients that need more care than others, the new owner of the Avalon Care Center made plans to “convert the facility to a sub-acute setting,” and as a result did not “want long-term care residents.” According to the press release, the facility started to “purge all residents considered long-term,” a practice that occurred from July through December of 2015. During that time, at least 29 residents were evicted from Avalon Care Center, and none of the evictions were legal. CANHR cites the following illegal aspects of the evictions:
- Residents did not received written discharge notices, which are required by law;
- Evicted residents did not receive proper preparation for their moves out of Avalon Care Center or “property discharge planning”; and
- Facility did not inform the evicted residents that they had a right to remain at Avalon Care Center even after its sale.
Injuries and Health-Related Consequences of the Evictions
As a result of the illegal convictions, the long-term patients who were removed from Avalon Care Center suffered physical and psychological injuries, including but not limited to the following:
- Discharge to a nursing home over 900 miles from Avalon Care Center, a process during which the patient did not receive proper medications and suffered physical harms connected to neglect while on the flight;
- Patient going on a hunger strike due to the psychological harm of being removed from Avalon Care Center after living there for 12 years, and losing 9% of her body weight within a month as a result;
- Patient with physical disabilities requiring care from at least two assistants being discharged to his pregnant daughter’s mobile home, resulting in the patient’s physical decline and his becoming “riddled with bedsores.”
As the CANHR press release emphasizes, illegal nursing home evictions are occurring across the state, and it is important to take action to stop them. If you have questions about an elderly loved one’s safety or have concerns about nursing home evictions, an elder abuse lawyer in San Diego can speak with you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.
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