SHLOMO RECHNITZ AND HIS NURSING HOMES – MR. RECHNITZ, WOULD YOU TREAT YOUR MOTHER THE WAY YOUR PATIENTS ARE TREATED??
Lost Messiah, on behalf of Genine Zizzo and others, May 24, 2016
Genine Zizzo and Death by Haldol:
Marisa Conover’s mother, Genine Zizzo, entered a the Roosevelt Point nursing care system for what was to have been physical rehabilitation, nothing more. Ms. Conover gave specific instructions to the staff that her mother was not to be chemically restrained. According to Ms. Conover and investigated by CBSNews (see link below), Zizzo was forcibly held down while she was injected with Haldol despite specific instructions to the contrary. As Ms. Conover tells the story:
“I’m reminded of who Shlomo Rechnitz is every time I visit my Mother’s grave! My petite, 82 year old Mother died in an irreversible vegetative state just days after being forcibly injected with the powerful and dangerous antipsychotic drug Haldol, against her will and against MY orders as her Durable and Medical Durable Power Of Attorney-In-Fact by an unscrupulous Nurse at Shomo Rechnitz’s Roseville Point Health and Wellness center outside of Sacramento, CA. She was only supposed to do a week of physical therapy rehab for a back sprain. My Mother is a featured victim in this ABC News10 Investigative Report on the inappropriate drugging of the Elderly (click on the second screen if you want to view the news story). I will NOT rest until those involved are arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted and sent to State Prison for what they did to my Mother.”
THE USE OF HALDOL
According to a number of studies, Haldol is used fairly regularly in nursing homes to sedate patients. Federal law prohibits the use of antipsychotics and other psychoactive drugs for the convenience of staff. It’s called a “chemical restraint.” There has to be a documented medical need for the drugs.[NPR.ORG]. While many nursing home chains are guilty of this practice, the facilities in the Shlomo Rechnitz empire currently have the worst ratings.
The black box warning on Haldol (haloperidol) reads as follows:
Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of seventeen placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. HALDOL Injection is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see WARNINGS).
In theory, one would think that it would be the medicine of last resort in psychotic, elderly people and would not be the pharmaceutical of first choice to sedate elderly patients. If the Haldol website it correct, it can kill those on whom it is most used. The black box warnings are a clear indication to a prescribing physician or nurse practitioner that the use of this drug is at his or her own peril.
ANOTHER WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT – Geneva Hilton:
Similar to the Genine Zizzo case, Czersale Hilton’s mother was admitted into Centinella Skilled Nursing & Wellness Center West in Inglewood in 2014. Five weeks later she was taken to the hospital suffering from pneumonia, dehydration and a body temperature of lower than 80 degrees. The doctors suspected elder neglect. According to the from CBSNews.com, investigative reporter David Goldstein tallied $500 million in Medicare and Medi-Cal money. It was not until Goldstein entered one of the facilities with a hidden camera that the problems with the facility became clearer. See the article from CBS that follows.
Largest Calif. nursing home chain accused of wrongful death
LOS ANGELES— The owner of California’s largest chain of nursing homes has come under fire, accused of abuse and wrongful deaths.
CBS Los Angeles reports the daughter of a resident of one of their nursing homes has filed a lawsuit, claiming her mother died prematurely as a result of the care she received.
Czersale Hilton’s mother, Geneva, 68, was admitted into Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre West in Inglewood in 2014. Five weeks later, she was dead.
“I was shocked. Of course, I was shocked, because the last time I spoke to my mom, she was herself,” Hilton recalled. “I loved my mother with all my heart, and I miss her every day.”
Hilton has sued Centinela West, claiming elder abuse and negligence. According to the lawsuit, her mother “was admitted for rehabilitative care following a hospitalization for chest pains. Her lungs were clear and she was in good condition.”
But five weeks later, she was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, suffering from pneumonia, dehydration and a body temperature of lower than 80 degrees.
According to the lawsuit, doctors suspected elder neglect. “So, something went on there. I am still not clear on what happened over there,” Hilton said.
Goldstein visited Centinela West with a hidden camera. He witnessed a patient moaning, and his producer smelled human waste.
According to the most current 2015 Medicare nursing home profile, Centinela West has an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
But the nursing staffing and health inspection categories both got only 2 stars, something Medicare considers below average.
Centinela West is not the only nursing home with multiple complaints connected to Rechnitz.
“It was like zombies walking around here,” said South Pasadena police chief Art Miller, who described patients at South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital when it used to be owned by Rechnitz.
The federal government decertified it last year, denying its eligibility to get Medicare money. It happened after Courtney Cargill, 57, set herself on fire.
The FBI has also raided two of Rechnitz’s facilities, including the Alta Vista Healthcare & Wellness Center in Riverside. No charges have been filed.
The California attorney general filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing facility in Montrose and two staff supervisors after a 58-year-old male patient died.
The attorney general tried unsuccessfully to block Rechnitz from owning more nursing homes saying his “continued and repeated refusals to comply with industry laws and regulations was harming the skilled nursing industry.”
Patricia McGinnis with the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform asked: “If that’s the case, why are you giving out more licenses to this company?”
“Under his particular company, we’ve had more closures and more decertifications in such a short period of time than any time that I can think of in the last 30 years,” McGinnis added.
The California Department of Health, which licenses nursing homes, refused a request for an on-camera interview about Rechnitz’s facilities.
ADVOCATING NURSING CARE REFORM:
One in every 14 beds currently available in California is owned by Shlomo Rechnitz or one of his companies. He is the largest single provider of nursing care. He also has more violations then any other provider. It is true that many of the homes he acquired were already problematic when they merged into his empire. But, little has improved. His “philanthropic endeavors” apparently do not extend to the patients in his care.
Unmasked: How California’s Largest Nursing Home Chains Perform
The Sacramento Bee published a groundbreaking series of articles this week on who owns California nursing homes and why it matters to people who need nursing home care. The sweeping three-part series by Marjie Lundstrom and Phillip Reese identifies and examines the performance of California’s 25 largest nursing home chains, exposes some of the people behind them and questions why they are so poorly regulated.
Part 1 is a data-driven examination of how the largest nursing home chains are performing. Using public data, the Sac Bee rated each of the 25 largest chains, giving lowest marks to the following: LifeHouse Health Services, EmpRes Healthcare Management LLC, Genesis HealthCare Corp., Mariner Health Care, and Brius Healthcare Services/Shlomo Rechnitz.
Part 2 examines the great lengths nursing home companies go to disguise what facilities they own and their business relationships. As part of its coverage, The Sac Bee launched a statewide database on California nursing homes that identifies which facilities are owned by chains and the name of the chain for each facility.
Part 3 describes the Department of Public Health’s total failure to measure quality of care throughout a nursing home chain and to give complete and accurate information on nursing home ownership on its consumer information website. A Sac Bee editorial following the series summed up the situation: People who enforce the rules fail on the most basic level – helping people understand which chains operate safe and humane facilities, and which aren’t acceptable.
Hughes, Rhidian. “Chemical restraint in nursing older people.” Nursing Older People Apr. 2008: 33+. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.
Kidder, Samuel W. “The Chemical Restraint Debate.” Geriatric Times 1 May 2002: 40. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.
Yu, Chieh-Chen, and Hui-Chi Huang. “Chemical Restraint and Nursing Care in the Intensive Care Unit. [Chinese].” Journal of Nursing 57.6 (2010): 83-88. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.
California’s largest nursing home owner under fire from government regulators
At the top of the chain: Shlomo Rechnitz, a 43-year-old Los Angeles entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Since 2006, Rechnitz and his primary company, Brius Healthcare Services, have acquired 81 nursing homes up and down the state, many of them through bankruptcy court. His chain has grown so quickly that he now controls about 1 in every 14 nursing home beds in California, giving him an outsized influence on quality of care in the state.
In the past year, multiple alarms have been raised about this relative newcomer to the industry and the care provided in some of his homes. His facilities have become the target of police scrutiny, lawsuits, stiff regulatory fines and state and federal investigations that have uncovered numerous alleged violations.
Nine stories from Rechnitz’s California nursing homes
In 2013-14, these 23 nursing homes owned by Shlomo Rechnitz received a total of 50 serious deficiencies, or problematic conditions graded G or higher by the federal government.
Stories from some of those homes
Alameda Healthcare & Wellness Center
3 serious deficiencies
The facility got one of its serious deficiencies after a female resident lost more than 11 pounds in four months, or 13 percent of her body weight, and inspectors observed that she appeared “thin and frail.” The resident had told staff that the food was too dry and requested extra gravy because of her “swallowing disorder” that caused her to choke more easily. Inspectors found that the dietary aide failed to notify the cook, and the resident’s weight fell to 74.1 pounds.
Gridley Healthcare & Wellness Centre
6 serious deficiencies
Decertified effective Oct. 2 and set for closure. Surveyors identified immediate jeopardy to residents four times in five months. In the first survey, investigators said a patient suffered dehydration and died, while another resident with severe chest pain complained it took staff nine hours to get him an ambulance.
Oakhurst Healthcare & Wellness Centre
4 serious deficiencies
Inspectors issued multiple deficiencies after seven residents and one staff member fell ill from a contagious infection. Surveyors found poor hand-washing by staff, improper cleaning methods and unsanitary handling of linens. The director of staff development stated she had provided infection control training, but investigators found the documents had been taken from Wikipedia – “not recognized as a standard resource for professional infection control practice.”
Pacific Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, Eureka
1 serious deficiency
All 57 residents were found to be in immediate jeopardy when inspectors discovered the facility was using seven portable space heaters in resident care areas. The building’s heating system had been malfunctioning during a cold snap, and space heaters were set on high, posing a fire risk. Inspectors found one space heater in the front lobby beneath a table, near a lighted artificial Christmas tree. Another was inside the nurses’ station between two racks of clinical records.
Presidio Health Care Center, Spring Valley
2 serious deficiencies
The facility got two serious deficiencies because of low food supplies. Inspectors found inadequate food stock to meet daily nutritional needs, or for an emergency. Two refrigerators at the facility contained only a plastic bag with a “grey colored substance” (identified by staff as five pounds of hamburger) and five gallons of milk. The third refrigerator was empty.
Roseville Point Health & Wellness Center
1 serious deficiency
A resident with “moderate dementia” and a “history of self-mutilating behavior” was burned in September 2012 after she helped herself to four cups of coffee in the lobby and spilled them into her lap. The coffee, left out for anyone, was later found to be more than 170 degrees. Inspectors determined the facility failed to provide adequate supervision for the disabled resident to prevent the injuries.
South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital
(Renamed Mission Grove Healthcare & Wellness Centre)
2 serious deficiencies
Decertified effective Jan. 5. The facility got a serious deficiency after a 67-year-old female resident collapsed and died during an inspection. Investigators found that a licensed vocational nurse and certified nursing assistant did not know how to properly administer CPR, and 10 staff members did not respond correctly when asked later about CPR guidelines. The facility received a second serious deficiency after seven mentally ill patients were found to be coming and going without proper assessment. One committed suicide in a nearby neighborhood by lighting herself on fire.
Vernon Healthcare Center, Los Angeles
7 serious deficiencies
This facility had more serious violations in 2013 and 2014 than any other owned by Rechnitz. Key concerns were poor supervision, including one resident who used a motorized wheelchair twice found lying on the ground, injured, outside the facility. The administrator told inspectors that residents leave “all the time and just never return to the facility.” She said the nursing home does nothing to check on their welfare, assuming they “had just gone back to the streets.”
Wish-I-Ah Healthcare & Wellness Centre, Auberry
3 serious deficiencies
Decertified effective Nov. 7. Rechnitz permanently closed the facility late last year. Investigators visiting the home in October called immediate jeopardy in three instances and gave Wish-I-Ah its most severe deficiency for an infection that sickened residents and staff. Surveyors also issued a deficiency over the death of a 75-year-old resident from sepsis after improperly handling her wound dressing. They cited unsanitary conditions in the kitchen, bathrooms and ice machine, as well as improper disposal of raw sewage.