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State Settles with Foothill Health Group Over Nursing Home Violations

The Foothill Ranch Skilled Healthcare Group has agreed to implement improvements after 76 citations ranging from medication errors to dehydrated and malnourished patients with bed sores at its nursing homes.

A settlement has been reached between the state and the Foothill Ranch-based Skilled Healthcare Group over staffing levels and quality of care issues at the company's nursing homes in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and elsewhere, it was announced today.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said the agreement requires Skilled Healthcare Group to make staffing and care improvements at each of the chain's 20 facilities. The nursing homes are comprised of 2,360 beds throughout California.

The case stems from 76 citations and 209 deficiencies issued by the state Department of Public Health to Skilled's nursing facilities from 2008 to 2012. Specifically, the citations and deficiencies were issued because of Skilled's failure to prevent pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition, over- medication and medication errors, deficient catheter care, urinary incontinence, and naso-gastric feeding care practices, officials said.

The agreement empowers Harris to appoint an independent monitor who will ensure compliance with the state's staffing laws and conduct an ongoing evaluation of quality of care and staffing sufficiency.

"This is a case about neglect and abuse of California's elders by a facility that was supposed to protect and care for them," Harris said in a statement.

"This agreement ensures that the elderly occupying Skilled's 2,360 beds will receive better and higher quality care," she said. "At a time when California's elderly population is growing twice as fast as the general population, family and friends should have peace of mind that their loved ones are being well cared for when they are in a nursing home setting."

The independent monitor will make regular reports to the AG and conduct surprise inspections of Skilled's nursing homes for two years. The cost of the monitor, estimated to be $350,000 a year, will be paid for by Skilled, Harris said.

The AG's action stems from 76 citations and 209 deficiencies issued by the state Department of Public Health to Skilled's nursing facilities from 2008 to 2012.

Specifically, the citations and deficiencies were issued because of Skilled's failure to prevent pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition, over- medication and medication errors, deficient catheter care, urinary incontinence, and naso-gastric feeding care practices, officials said.

- City News Service

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