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Feb 19, 2014 by |

Nursing Home Reform Needed in California

Two California assisted living homes run by the same woman have recently come under fire, nursing home abuse attorneys in San Francisco report. Officials from the state’s Department of Social Services have yanked the licenses of Valley Springs Manor, in Castro Valley, and Eden Manor, in Oakland, after investigations uncovered deplorable conditions in both homes. These cases have drawn the state’s attention to the current lack of quality in many of the homes for the elderly across the state, and have inspired lawmakers to propose several much-needed plans for improvement.

It is alleged that in late 2012, Hilda N. Manuel, the owner of both Valley Springs Manor and Eden Manor, defaulted on a $4 million loan, and her facilities began to crumble. Residents had no access to fresh food or water, and the kitchen was overrun with cockroaches.  It was further alleged that water was in short supply, and the staff was stretched thin taking care of the 90-bed facility. Two residents died after being moved to one of Manuel’s other facilities with similar conditions. Although state regulators eventually took action, the list of citations they issued did nothing to stop the problem. It took a later investigation into Valley Springs Manor, another of Manuel’s facilities, for officials to start getting serious. And even then, state officials simply shut down the facility, without finding new homes for the existing residents.

Since the public chaos in Valley Springs Manor and Eden Manor, California legislators have proposed nearly a dozen bills to change the standards for assisted living homes throughout the state. Gov. Jerry Brown has announced plans to spend $7.5 million this year to improve conditions, including earmarking funds for more rigorous inspections, and bringing other things up-to-date, items that California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) and nursing home abuse lawyers in San Francisco say the Department has been neglecting, such as license and background checks for owners and employees.

Assisted living homes provide older Californians with some level of independence, while still making sure that they have access to companionship, support, medical attention, and help with day-to-day processes that may have become burdensome. Older people who are far from their families, or who can no longer live on their own, can make a home in these facilities, provided the quality of living continues to be upheld. But according to Pat McGinnis, the head of CANHR, the standards for living quality have been dropping at an alarming rate, leaving the state’s most vulnerable residents in danger of understaffed facilities, poor care, and unsanitary homes. “[The state officials] now know that their system is broken down and they need to do something about it,” McGinnis said.

At the Evans Law Firm, our lawyers serve nursing home abuse victims in the San Francisco Bay and throughout the Bay Area. We offer legal advice and representation to anyone who has lived a nursing home with less than professional care, unsanitary conditions, or any other conditions that have been hazardous to health and well-being. If you have been a victim of this abuse, contact an Evans Law attorney at 415-441-8669 or www.evanslaw.com today for a free consultation.

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