Lawsuits have been filed over nursing home staffing problems at more than a dozen facilities in California in recent weeks, all of which are linked to a single owner.
According to a report by the Marin Independent Journal, at least 15 California facilities are named in nursing home understaffing class action lawsuit filed across the state. All of the facilities are linked to owner Shlomo Rechnitz.
The complaints come following a recent report that indicated understaffing at nursing homes is a larger problem than previously believed.
Past studies and data have shown that residents are more likely to receive poor care when facilities are not properly staffed. Residents are more prone to suffer nursing home neglect, as well as falls and fractures and other injuries when staff at a facility are stretched thin.
The findings of the study suggested that there are inaccuracies in Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rating system for nursing homes because of how staffing is reported.
CMS began using daily payroll data to assess staffing levels in April. But the dips in staffing are not reflected in the nursing home care ratings
The lawsuit, which also names Brius Management, ASRU, and Rockport Administrative Services as defendants, claims that management hid the lack of staffing during its admission process. All of the other defendants are controlled by Rechnitz, the lawsuit claims.
Nursing Home Quality Concerns
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued in November 2016 warned that the CMS Nursing Home Compare rating system needed improvements, in order to better relay data to families about nursing home quality.
The GAO report included four major recommendations. It called for CMS to make the website more user-friendly; to make the rating system comparable on a national level, instead of just a state level; to add customer satisfaction information; and better, and prominently, explain how the ratings are calculated, how each different component is weighted, and how they compare nationally.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CMS, agreed with all of the recommendations, except the one which called for the ratings to compare at the national level, instead of at the state level, saying that it was currently not feasible.
The GAO also found problems with how CMS updates its Nursing Home Compare website, including how to prioritize recommended changes and assessing the effectiveness of its improvements. The report indicated that CMS used a “fragmented” approach, which worked well early on, but has become more difficult as the website became more complex.