Skilled Healthcare Settles With California Over Staffing

Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. reached a settlement with the state of California over staffing levels and the quality of care at its nursing homes.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said the agreement will require Skilled Healthcare to make improvements to its 20 facilities, and that the changes will be monitored and enforced by a court if necessary, according to an e-mailed statement.

The agreement stems from a case “ about neglect and abuse of California’s elders,” Harris said in the statement. “This agreement ensures that the elderly occupying Skilled’s 2,360 beds will receive better and higher quality care” at a time when California’s elderly population is growing twice as fast as the general population, Harris said in the statement.

An independent monitor will make surprise inspections of nursing homes for two years at a cost of about $350,000 annually to be paid by Skilled Healthcare, according to the statement.

The settlement stems from 76 citations and 209 deficiencies issued by the California Department of Public Health to Skilled’s nursing facilities from 2008 to 2012, including a failure to prevent pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition, over-medication and medication errors, deficient catheter care, urinary incontinence, and naso-gastric feeding care practices, according to the statement.

Skilled Healthcare and its units operate nursing homes in California counties of Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Santa Barbara, according the statement.

Melody Chattal, a spokeswoman for Skilled Healthcare, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.