Top 10 Dick Moves of 2018 – One of Ours Made the List… The #1 Spot… and a Philanthropist, No Less

Top 10 Dick Moves of 2018 

Listen, it has been a year. You’d think the dick moves on the national stage would overshadow us but not so. Looking back on 2018, we saw a bevy of folks making classic dick moves — selfishly and flagrantly doing wrong because, well, they could — running the gamut from racism to bad manners with a strong showing in screwing over Humboldt’s flora and fauna. Peruse this year’s cavalcade of bullshit and let us know if we’ve missed somebody.

 

click to enlargeShlomo Rechnitz. - HOLLY HARVEY

HOLLY HARVEYm Shlomo Rechnitz.

1. Just when you thought he’d slunk off our list, Shlomo Rechnitz, the billionaire owner of Brius Healthcare and the four Humboldt skilled nursing facilities that have been chronically understaffed and cited for violations over the years, is back. This time his facilities, which have settled a pair of wrongful death lawsuits out of court, are asking to be exempted from a new state requirement that they provide a minimum of 3.5 hours per day of caregiver staffing for each patient in their care. But hey, it’s just the health and safety of our elders at stake, so why pony up for the absolute legal minimum? Congratulations on this year’s champion dick move, Shlomo.

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or jennifer@northcoastjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.

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Nursing Homes – the Victimization of the Elderly, Balking at Stricter Staffing California – Profit Over Treatment

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More Than Half Of California Nursing Homes Balk At Stricter Staffing Rules

More than half of California’s nursing homes are asking to be exempted from new state regulations that would require them to spend more time directly caring for their patients.
The state’s new staffing requirements for nursing homes, quietly passed in last year’s budget bill, seem universally unpopular. Patient advocates say the new regulations don’t go far enough and that residents remain at risk in poorly staffed homes. Nursing home operators say they can’t hire enough staff to comply.

Under the new rules, which took effect in July but haven’t yet been enforced, skilled nursing facilities must provide at least 3.5 hours of direct care per resident per day, up from 3.2 hours of care previously. That care can range from inserting a feeding tube to changing an adult diaper or helping residents with eating and bathing.
The California Department of Public Health, which oversees nursing homes, is expected to announce in late January which — if any — facilities it will exempt from the new regulations. But some patient advocates don’t like the nursing homes’ balking.
We’re appalled by the waiver system. It’s sending the worst possible message to California nursing homes that it’s OK to staff at levels that endanger residents,’ said Mike Connors of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a consumer advocacy group.

Researchers have strongly linked more nursing staff with better care, with some experts recommending from 3.8 to 4.1 hours of care per patient per day as a bare minimum for quality nursing home care. Having enough staff helps prevent falls, pressure sores and other problems that can land fragile seniors in the hospital.
A recent Kaiser Health News investigation
found that for years nursing homes nationwide overstated staffing to the federal government. Now, nursing homes are required to report actual payroll records to remain eligible for Medicare and Medicaid payments.
During the first three months of 2018, 58 percent of California’s skilled nursing facilities averaged at least 3.5 hours of patient care a day, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of payroll records submitted to the federal government. That rose to 76 percent when including nursing homes where administrators also were counted.
California is one of only a few states that set their own minimum requirements for nursing home staffing. Most states abide by federal government standards requiring skilled nursing facilities that receive money from Medicare or Medicaid to have enough staff to meet residents’ needs, said Robyn Grant, director of public policy and advocacy for National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an advocacy group.
Illinois requires nursing homes to provide a minimum of 3.8 hours of care per patient a day and the District of Columbia requires 4.1 hours, Grant said. Maine and Oklahoma take a different approach, establishing staff-to-patient ratios, rather than hours of care, for nursing homes.
Nursing home officials and their lobbyists say it’s tough to find qualified nurses and assistants in California’s robust economy, and they bemoan what they describe as inadequate reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. They also have criticized a provision of the new requirements that 2.4 of the 3.5 hours of patient care must be provided by a certified nursing assistant, rather than another nursing professional.
Nursing homes need flexibility because ‘not every patient is the same, not every diagnosis is the same,’ said Matt Robinson, legislative affairs director for the California Association of Health Facilities, an industry group. ‘We’re not opposed to more staff. But we want quality staff. We want to make sure there’s a sustainable workforce to meet that mandate, otherwise it’s just an empty mandate.’
Robinson said facilities are applying for waivers on a ‘good-faith basis.’ If waiver requests aren’t granted, he said, nursing homes may reduce their beds or even shut down.
In Los Angeles, the 300-bed Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center has applied for an exemption citing a ‘workforce shortage.’ But Cynthia Sakaki Sirlin, whose 86-year-old father, a veteran of the Korean War, lives there says, ‘I think it’s wrong.’
‘I don’t know why they’re doing this. They need more nursing staff to improve patient care, not less, the research shows that. So why are they asking for a waiver? Why is the state allowing them? That just rewards owners who are not willing to staff the homes,’ Sakaki Sirlin said.
Sakaki Sirlin, a nurse practitioner and a representative of Kei-Ai’s family council, said that since the formerly nonprofit nursing home was purchased by a real estate developer in 2016, she has noticed more staff turnover. She worries that her father, a wheelchair user who can’t feed himself, won’t get the care he needs. Representatives from Kei-Ai did not respond to a request for comment.
There are nearly 100,000 certified nursing assistants in California, according to federal labor data. Patient advocates say many CNAs choose not to work for nursing homes because of the comparatively low pay and tough workload.
‘If they paid them better, they’d have plenty of staff,’ even in remote parts of California, said Suzi Fregeau, long-term care program manager in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The mean hourly wage for certified nursing assistants in California was $16.13 in 2017, according to federal labor data
.
Some of the California homes seeking exemptions have been repeatedly cited by the state’s Department of Public Health for inadequate staffing that led to patient harm. Among them are homes owned by Shlomo Rechnitz, who reportedly controls 1 in 14 nursing home beds in California. He has faced numerous federal and state probes of understaffing and quality problems at his homes.
The CEO of one of Rechnitz’s nursing home management companies said in a written statement that several homes submitted “patient needs” waiver requests on their own with data provided by the company. “All of these facilities prioritize the needs of their patients above all else and these facilities have a stellar history of complying with applicable staffing requirements,” said David Silver, CEO of Rockport Administrative Services LLC.
What we’re seeing is that the facilities that already are understaffed — the facilities for which we do get complaints — are the ones asking for waivers,’ said Joe Rodrigues, the state’s long-term care ombudsman. ‘We’re not supportive of those requests.’

Nursing Homes Requesting Waivers so they Can Provide Substandard Care? Victimizing the Elderly

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More Than Half Of California Nursing Homes Balk At Stricter Staffing Rules

More than half of California’s nursing homes are asking to be exempted from new state regulations that would require them to spend more time directly caring for their patients.

The state’s new staffing requirements for nursing homes, quietly passed in last year’s budget bill, seem universally unpopular. Patient advocates say the new regulations don’t go far enough and that residents remain at risk in poorly staffed homes. Nursing home operators say they can’t hire enough staff to comply.

Under the new rules, which took effect in July but haven’t yet been enforced, skilled nursing facilities must provide at least 3.5 hours of direct care per resident per day, up from 3.2 hours of care previously. That care can range from inserting a feeding tube to changing an adult diaper or helping residents with eating and bathing.

The California Department of Public Health, which oversees nursing homes, is expected to announce in late January which — if any — facilities it will exempt from the new regulations. But some patient advocates don’t like the nursing homes’ balking.

 

“We’re appalled by the waiver system. It’s sending the worst possible message to California nursing homes that it’s OK to staff at levels that endanger residents,” said Mike Connors of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a consumer advocacy group.

(Check to see which California nursing homes have applied for workforce shortage waivers here and here.)

Researchers have strongly linked more nursing staff with better care, with some experts recommending from 3.8 to 4.1 hours of care per patient per day as a bare minimum for quality nursing home care. Having enough staff helps prevent falls, pressure sores and other problems that can land fragile seniors in the hospital.

A recent Kaiser Health News investigation found that for years nursing homes nationwide overstated staffing to the federal government. Now, nursing homes are required to report actual payroll records to remain eligible for Medicare and Medicaid payments.

During the first three months of 2018, 58 percent of California’s skilled nursing facilities averaged at least 3.5 hours of patient care a day, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of payroll records submitted to the federal government. That rose to 76 percent when including nursing homes where administrators also were counted.

Continue reading

Shlomo Rechnitz, the Other Side of a Mirror – Cali Nursing Home Reform

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California passes nursing home transparency law

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation this month requiring nursing home owners to provide more information about “insider” companies that may siphon scarce resources away from nursing residents through nursing homes’ inflated payments for supplies, rents, and services.

The legislation authored by Assemblyman Wood (D-Healdsburg) stemmed from a state audit of nursing homes earlier this year that focused on Brius Healthcare, California’s largest nursing home company.

Wood and Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) requested the audit following concerns raised by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which published a report showing that during 2015 Brius nursing homes purchased $67 million in goods and services from 65 “insider” companies owned by Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz and his relatives.

In 2015, Rechnitz’s “insider” companies – including paper landlords – stood to gain as much as $12 million by charging inflated rents to Brius nursing homes, according to NUHW’s report. This money, says NUHW, should have been spent on care and services for nursing home residents who often lack adequate staffing, support and care.

The state audit, published in May 2018, found that the California Department of Public Health failed to perform necessary inspections or issue timely citations for substandard care. In addition, California State Auditor Elaine Howle found the reporting rules for nursing homes failed to show whether operators are profiting from business deals with “insider” companies owned by nursing home executives.

To improve transparency of these related-party transactions, Wood’s bill (Assembly Bill 1953) requires nursing home owners to disclose whether they have “an ownership or control interest of 5% or more in a related party … that provides any service to the skilled nursing facility.”

Under those circumstances, the nursing home must disclose all of the services provided by the related-party company, the number of people who provide the service, and any other information requested by state officials.

If the nursing home receives goods, fees, and services worth $10,000 or more per year from a related-party company, then this “insider” company must give state officials a copy of its profit and loss statement as well as data on caregiver staffing levels inside the nursing home.

The bill “will now ensure transparency and reporting that will allow us to make sure that these companies are not being used to generate excessive profits for the owners of these facilities on the backs of the residents,” Wood told Skilled Nursing News.

Sen. McGuire, who voted for the bill, praised the new law.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Brius residents in Marin report going weeks without showers — Chafraud-Depravitch

Here’s the latest about some of the substandard care found in nursing homes controlled by ultra-Orthodox multi-millionaire Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz. From Briuswatch.org: One of Brius Healthcare’s largest nursing homes is “woefully understaffed,” forcing residents to go weeks without a shower and sit in their own excrement for hours waiting for assistance, according to a recently […]

via Brius residents in Marin report going weeks without showers — Chafraud-Depravitch

Shlomo Rechnitz, Nursing Homes, Lawsuits, Understaffing

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Lawsuit alleges Roseville nursing home and others understaffed on purpose – to increase profits

A recently filed lawsuit alleges Roseville Point Health & Wellness Center knowingly understaffed to save money.

This case is among 15 class action lawsuits alleging purposeful understaffing at 15 nursing homes around California filed by elder abuse law firm Garcia, Artigliere & Medby and The Arns Law Firm, which represents workers and their families.

Aside from the 98-bed Roseville facility, the 14 other facilities are mainly located in Southern California and the Bay Area.

The Roseville lawsuit, filed on behalf of petitioner Diane Bechtold, a resident at the center, alleges the understaffing is “chronic and intentional” and an “effort to pocket unearned profit.”

The lawsuits name a number of defendants, including Shlomo Rechnitz, California’s largest nursing home owner, and Rockport Administrative Services LLC, a consulting company with a number of Rechnitz’s facilities as clients.

“This violation of each resident’s rights was directed and implemented at the mandate of the managers and owners of the facilities, Rockport Administrative Services and Shlomo Rechnitz, and his multiple layers of affiliated companies,” the lawsuit claims.

According to Mark Johnson, from the firm Hooper, Lundy & Bookman PC, representing Rockport, the consulting company provides services to skilled nursing facilities “including oversight of compliance with applicable staffing requirements.”

“Importantly, none of the lawsuits allege any harm to the residents of facilities which Rockport serves,” Johnson said. “Roseville Point Healthcare and Wellness Center … is in full compliance with applicable staffing laws including the increased staffing levels required as of July 1, 2018. In fact, its compliance has been confirmed during standard annual audits conducted by the California Department of Public Health.”

The health department could not immediately provide information about compliance with staffing requirements at the center.

Documents sent by Johnson appear to show the California Department of Public Health reported the Roseville facility had zero days of non-compliance with required staffing levels in 2016. The health department could not immediately authenticate the documents.

Glaser Weil trial lawyer Jill Basinger, representing all of the defendants in the lawsuits except Rockport, claims the nursing facilities “not only maintain the state required 3.2 nursing hours per patient day, they even exceed them.”

Staffing requirements

Whereas previously, 3.2 nursing hours per patient day was the minimum numeric staffing ratio required in a skilled nursing facility under state law, as of July 1, 2018, the new minimum required ratio is 3.5.

To continue reading click here.

 

Brius Hit with Class Action Lawsuits – briuswatch – Watching out for the Elderly

Brius hit with over a dozen class action lawsuits

Brius has been hit with 15 class action lawsuits accusing the nursing home conglomerate of systemically understaffing its nursing homes to maximize profits, while delivering substandard care to thousands of elderly residents.

“These lawsuits are an effort on behalf of these vulnerable citizens to ensure that their needs are met,” Attorney Stephen Garcia told the Eureka Times-Standard. Garcia’s law firm and The Arns Law Firm in San Francisco allege that Brius homes across California misled potential residents about their compliance with staffing requirements.

In a statement to the Marin Independent Journal, Jill Basinger, a spokeswoman for Brius owner Shlomo Rechnitz, claimed that Brius homes “not only maintain” minimum staffing requirements, “they even exceed them.”

However, Brius has been cited multiple times in recent years for understaffing, including at the Novato Healthcare Center and San Rafael Healthcare and Wellness Center, which were included in the class action lawsuits. In March, Brius caregivers from both homes, represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, joined residents and their loved ones at a public forum to call on Brius to put an end to chronic understaffing.

Earlier this year, a state investigation found the 181-bed Novato facility “woefully understaffed,” forcing residents to go weeks without a shower and sit in their own excrement for hours waiting for assistance.

Last year, the California Department of Public Health fined Brius’ San Rafael facility $15,000 for violating the state’s minimum staffing laws.

There has been heightened attention to nursing home staffing after recent reports found that major skilled nursing facilities were not providing accurate data to state and federal regulators.

In June, Medicare lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in one in 11 of the nation’s nursing homes because they either had inadequate numbers of registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage, Kaiser Health News reported.

The lawsuits allege that understaffing at Brius, which is California’s largest nursing home operator, resulted in tragic outcomes for residents.

One lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that understaffing at Brius’ Alameda Healthcare & Wellness Center contributed to the 2017 death of Cathy Campbell, a 61-year-old Stockton woman.

According to the lawsuit, Campbell, who suffered from hypertension and chronic kidney failure, developed a severe bedsore and urinary tract infection that worsened because the facility lacked sufficient staff to care for her. Her health continued to suffer after she was transferred to a second Brius home in Oakland.

Garcia, who wrote that Campbell’s needs were “flat-out ignored,” blamed the Alameda facility for failing to properly treat her in a statement to the East Bay Times. It “knew that by not elevating her to a higher level of care when the sore reached a Stage III, they were violating the law, but in the interest of profits over patients, they made a conscious choice to wrongfully deny needed medical care.”

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY CLICK, HERE.