Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Nursing home company to pay $48M in settlement

November 20, 2013

A California company that runs nursing homes in 10 states has agreed to pay $48 million to resolve claims that it submitted inflated bills to Medicare for services that either were unnecessary or never performed, authorities said Tuesday.

The settlement reached with The Ensign Group Inc. was unsealed late Monday by a judge in Los Angeles and resolves a pair of whistle-blower lawsuits filed by two former company employees, federal prosecutors said.

“This settlement — one of the largest of its kind in United States history — demonstrates our commitment to protecting taxpayers who fund important programs that benefit millions of Americans, but don’t want to see their hard-earned money wasted on fraud or abuse,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.

Ensign did not admit liability as part of the settlement. In a statement released last month, Ensign CEO Christopher Christensen said the company, based in Orange County, will continue to enhance its compliance program and will strive to provide high-quality health care services.

Ensign is accused of turning in false Medicare claims for more than a decade at six of its skilled-nursing facilities in Southern California. Authorities said the claims for physical, occupational and speech therapy services were not medically necessary and some patients were kept in the nursing homes longer than they needed to be.

Full Article and Source:
Nursing home company to pay $48M in settlement

Alameda County: Assisted living reform advocates hope new director will overhaul state’s licensing agency

November 20, 2013

The California agency criticized for its botched closure of a Castro Valley assisted living home is on the hunt for a new director — and it must choose from a pool of state workers unless Gov. Jerry Brown appoints an outside figure.

An internal hire is unlikely to satisfy senior advocates demanding a major shake-up at the Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing Division.

“They need an overhaul of that department,” said Patricia McGinnis, director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “Unless they have a complete change of attitude, unless they have a complete change of guard, I don’t see how things are going to be any different.”

The agency drew outrage last month for allowing more than a dozen frail residents to be left at Valley Springs Manor without proper care after the state had ordered the home closed. An internal review is now looking into what went wrong.

It was the previous head of the division, Jeffrey Hiratsuka, who initiated formal proceedings in May to revoke the license of the Castro Valley facility and ban its owners from ever running such a home again.

That was after complaints by residents and advocates against Valley Springs and a sister home in Oakland began mounting last year. The complaints led to unannounced state inspections that discovered numerous violations and forced the ouster of the homes’ longtime administrator, according to state records.

Hiratsuka, who could not be reached for comment, retired this summer after fours years directing the division and a total of 12 years working in its Sacramento headquarters. A staff newsletter commended the 61-year-old for guiding “the program through some of the worst economic and budget times ever experienced in the state.”

Full Article and Source:
Alameda County: Assisted living reform advocates hope new director will overhaul state’s licensing agency

See Also:
Castro Valley care home patients abandoned

Judge rejects conservatorship for Casey Kasem

November 20, 2013

LOS ANGELES—Casey Kasem is receiving good medical care and a conservatorship is unnecessary for the ailing radio personality, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Lesley Green urged lawyers to reach an agreement that would allow three of Kasem’s adult children to visit their father, who is suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease.

Kasem’s children have said they are being blocked from seeing their father by his wife of more than 30 years, Jean. But her lawyer Marshall Grossman said the children have rejected a proposal to allow them to visit their father each month and on major holidays.

Green acknowledged there is “bad blood” in the family, but noted a doctor who has evaluated Kasem reported he wants to see his children.

Kasem’s daughter Julie was seeking a temporary conservatorship for her father, but Green rejected that effort Tuesday. She cited reports by investigators and doctors who said Kasem was receiving by all accounts good medical treatment in his home.

The judge told lawyers to try to work out an agreement for visitation by Kasem’s children and set another court hearing for Dec. 20.

Attorneys for both sides planned to try to negotiate a visitation agreement Tuesday.

Julie Kasem’s attorney, Andrew Katzenstein, said his clients were pleased to learn that their father was being well cared for and hoped that a visitation arrangement could be worked out. He said the effort to have a conservatorship established was all about making sure Kasem was being properly looked after and to allow his children to see their father.

Grossman said he wants an accord that will end any further court action. “We’re looking to bring peace, not piecemeal,” he told Green.

Casey Kasem, 81, gained fame with his radio music countdown shows, “American Top 40” and “Casey’s Top 40,” and also was the voice of Shaggy in the cartoon “Scooby Doo.”

Full Article and Source:
Judge rejects conservatorship for Casey Kasem

See Also:
Casey Kasem Near Death but Alert, Children Suing Wife Jean for Conservatorship NOT Will and Money

‘Grave Robbery Under Color of Law’

November 19, 2013

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, private guardian Jared E. Shafer’s attractive protégé’ Patience Bristol is sitting in a cell at the Clark County Detention Center awaiting trial while her mentor may be breathing a sigh of relief allegedly knowing his cooperation with authorities may exonerate him from being prosecuted for many of the same crimes Bristol is accused of committing against the elderly or vulnerable.

On pages of the following confidential 32 page fax obtained by INSIDE VEGAS, Shafer informs another of his protégés, Clark County Public Guardian Kathleen A. Buchanan, that “Guardian” Patience Bristol has not provided receipts, explanations, or backup to validate transactions Bristol made on behalf of ward Jean Dutton whose fortune Bristol and Shafer were responsible for overseeing.  In his incriminating fax Shafer includes eighteen checks Bristol wrote on Shafer’s Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, Inc.(PFSN) checking account that he pretends to know nothing about:

Bristol cashed eighteen bogus checks drawn in the name of ward Jean Dutton from Shafer’s PFSN, Inc. checking account between September 4 and December 28, 2012 totaling $12,850.00. If Shafer truly knew nothing about these transactions, he is also in need of a guardian! As Dutton’s co-fiduciary, Shafer is as responsible as Bristol for protecting a ward’s assets.  Patience Bristol is in custody charged with twenty felony counts of bilking the elderly and vulnerable. Her Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for November 25. Jared Shafer has not (yet) been charged with a crime.

Leann Goorjian lived to be only 51. She was the daughter of Wanda Lamb Peccole and William “Bill” Peccole. Leann’s mother was the sister of former Nevada State Senator Floyd lamb, Clark County Commissioner Darwin Lamb (portrayed in the movie Casino),  and legendary former Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb. Leann married Greg Goorgian and together had two sons, Gavin and Camden, now in their late twenties and working for the family business Pecolle Nevada Corporation.    

Three years before Leann died on February 24, 2008 leaving a multi-million dollar fortune, she was placed into the guardianship of Jared E. Shafer. That was in 2005 when she was deemed a “vulnerable person.” Since her death, Shafer has not been required to relinquish guardianship over her estate, and continues to this date draining it of hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Full Article and Source:
Grave Robbery Under Color of Law

See Also:
NASGA:  Lupe Olvera, Nevada/California Victim

NASGA:  Marcey Dudeck, Nevada/California Victim

Nevada Guardian Patience Bristol Arraigned on Robbery Charges

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian: Court Order for Isolation

November 18, 2013

San Francisco resident Margarita Zelada is unlawfully confined and isolated at Senior Paradise in Del Rey Oaks, California. The false imprisonment is at the order of the Monterey County Public Guardian.

Elder rights advocates across the country are protesting the violation of rights and abuse of power. Senior Paradise is under investigation by Department of Social Services.

The Public Guardian responded by petitioning the court for an order to legitimize their ongoing abuse.

The petition is on calendar for Wednesday, November 20, 2013. If signed, the order will strip Margarita of her constitutional right to liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian: Court Order for Isolation

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian: Evidence suppressed

November 18, 2013

San Francisco resident Margarita Zelada had an accidental fall while visiting her daughter in Pacific Grove, California. The Monterey County Public Guardian used the accident to seize control of Margarita and unlawfully isolate her from loved ones.

On November 11, 2013, this Examiner sent the following email to Senior Deputy Public Guardian Teri Scarlett.

Ms. Scarlett, 

Improperly suppressed evidence requires your immediate attention. A report with additional information will be released later in the week. 

Monterey County Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis alleged that Patricia Conklin financially abused her mother, Margarita Zelada. Ms. Zelada clearly stated that Ms. Conklin did not abuse her in any way. After months of investigation, Ms. Empasis did not identify any financial abuse. However, Ms. Empasis refused to terminate the conservatorship of Ms. Zelada’s estate. 

Please see December 13, 2012 video of Ms. Zelada on YouTube. 

Ms. Empasis escalated her allegations to include physical abuse after Ms. Zelada experienced an accidental fall on March 1, 2013. The attached March 29, 2013 letter from Ms. Zelada’s court appointed attorney Chris Campbell states: 

My client is adamant that she does not hold her daughter responsible for this injury and that she has no desire to see her daughter prosecuted. She has been clear about this ever since I first saw her in the hospital one day after the injury. My client and her daughter have an extraordinarily close relationship, and they have lived together for many years; Patricia is Mrs. Zelada’s only child, and Mrs. Zelada has no other family in this country. There is no one in the world more important to Mrs. Zelada than her daughter, and the fact that Mrs. Zelada has been unable to see Patricia since she was taken into custody has been a devastating blow to her.

The above video and letter were not presented at Ms. Zelada’s general conservatorship hearing, nor were they presented at Ms. Conklin’s criminal trial. It is my understanding that additional similar videos exist on personal electronics that Ms. Empasis removed from Ms. Conklin’s home on March 25, 2013. Those items have not been returned to Ms. Conklin.

Please forward this evidence to the District Attorney for immediate review. Please file a petition to terminate the conservatorship of Margarita Zelada no later than Friday, November 15, 2013.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Linda Kincaid, MPH

Full Article and Source:
Elder abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian: Evidence suppressed

Linda Kincaid Reports: Margarita Zelada: Timeline of elder abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian

November 18, 2013

Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis pursued a campaign of false allegations and abuse of power to control the assets of Peruvian immigrant Margarita Zelada. Her estate is valued at around $1.5M.

Margarita is a victim of false imprisonment at long-term care facility Senior Paradise in Del Rey Oaks, California. Administrator Margaret Camara willingly executes unlawful orders from Empasis.

Margarita’s three bedroom home in San Francisco’s desirable Outer Sunset neighborhood sits vacant. Empasis changed the locks to prevent family entering the home. Patricia’s 2001 Mercedes, a gift from Margarita, is now in Empasis’ control.

In July 2012, Empasis alleged that Patricia financially abused her mother. Margarita repeatedly insisted Patricia did nothing improper. Patricia provided a full accounting of expenditures. No charges were filed.

In September 2012, Empasis seized control of all assets belonging to Margarita and Patricia. Mother and daughter were left unable to meet their financial obligations. Both experienced severe financial hardship.

On October 5, 2012, the court awarded temporary conservatorship of Margarita’s estate to the Public Guardian.

On December 13, 2012, Margarita recorded a video stating that Patricia did not abuse her in any way. Margarita was emphatic that she did not want the Public Guardian involved in her affairs. (See video above at left.)

Full Article and Source:
Margarita Zelada: Timeline of elder abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian

See Also:
Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian: Home Vacant, Daughter Homeless

CA Conservatorship Ward Margarita Zelada on the Monterey County Public Guardian

NASGA:  Margarita Zelada, California Victim

Linda Kincaid Reports: Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian: Home Vacant, Daughter Homeless

November 12, 2013
An abusive conservatorship devastated the life of San Francisco resident Margarita Zelada.  The Monterey County Public Guardian keeps Margarita unlawfully isolated and confined in a long-term care facility.

Margarita said, “ I am in prison.” Every night, she cries alone in her room and prays for freedom.

Margarita languishes at Senior Paradise in Del Rey Oaks, her estate charged $7,000/month for “care.”
Margarita’s three bedroom home in San Francisco’s desirable Outer Sunset neighborhood sits vacant.
Deputy Public Guardian Jennifer Empasis changed the locks on Margarita’s home to prevent entry by family. The home is unattended, and landscaping deteriorates. Family said Empasis planned to sell the home for a fraction of market value.
The abusive conservatorship also devastated the life of Margarita’s daughter, Patricia Conklin. In her bid to control Margarita’s $1.5M estate, Empasis made many false allegations that Patricia abused her mother.
Empasis seized control of Patricia’s assets and the house she leased in Pacific Grove. Empasis unlawfully forced Patricia’s renter from the house and terminated the lease.
Margarita’s testimony was suppressed at Patricia’s trial. Material documents and videos were suppressed. Empasis threatened witnesses with criminal prosecution if they testified in Patricia’s favor.
With assets seized by the Public Guardian, Patricia could not retain competent defense counsel. She was found guilty on three counts of felony elder abuse.
Patricia is left homeless and dependent on the charity of friends.

Full Article and Source:
Elder Abuse by Monterey County Public Guardian:  Home Vacant, Daughter Homeless

Linda Kincaid Reports: Consumer Voice conference discusses elder abuse in long-term care

November 12, 2013

The October 24-27, 2013 Consumer Voice conference in Washington, DC brought advocates and experts from across the county to discuss long-term care facilities. Prevention of elder abuse was a leading topic.

A panel discussed Engaging Family in Advocacy. This Examiner had the privilege of leading a discussion titled Toward a National Model for Advocacy.

The discussion emphasized the need for families of victims to collaborate with other families and with independent advocates. Case studies from California emphasized the frustrations of families attempting to advocate independently for an abused or neglected loved one. However, coalitions that focused multiple families and advocates toward a common goal were more effective.

Wildwood Canyon Villa in San Bernardino County was the first facility discussed. Citations from Department of Social Services (DSS) establish that Wildwood Canyon Villa unlawfully confined and isolated a resident for fifteen months. Police reports establish that Executive Director Lynnette Alvarado refused to allow family to visit. Alvarado stated that corporate instructions were to have visitors arrested for trespassing.

Court records show that family eventually obtained a restraining order against the unlawful and abusive isolation at Wildwood. That effort required sixteen court hearings over fifteen months. It cost family $70K to require Wildwood to follow the law and allow their loved one to have visitors.

Full Article and Source:
Consumer Voice conference discusses elder abuse in long-term care

California sued over lagging nursing home inspections

November 10, 2013

A Sacramento advocate for the elderly is suing the state for allegedly endangering vulnerable residents by failing to promptly investigate nursing home complaints, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Francisco.

The suit, brought by the Sacramento-based Foundation Aiding the Elderly, accuses state regulators of “taking months and sometimes years” to complete investigations of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the lawsuit names the California Department of Public Health and two top administrators.

“This is jeopardizing all patients,” said Carole Herman, president of FATE. “The industry is not afraid of the regulators, they are so lax in their responsibilities.”

Corey Egel, spokesman for the Department of Public Health, said the department could not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit, filed by the Lexington Law Group, a San Francisco public interest law firm, seeks a court order requiring the state to “complete complaint investigations and the complaint appeal process in a timely manner.” The lawsuit asks the court to impose deadlines or enforce existing ones on the complaint process. And, it asks that the court compel the department to prepare an annual report detailing the timeliness of its complaint investigations.

Herman said she pursued legal action because “it’s the only way the state is going to pay attention.”

The lawsuit cites Herman’s personal experiences with the department in filing complaints on behalf of nursing-home clients. One case filed by Herman in October 2011, which involves “serious allegations of negligent medical treatment,” remains unresolved, the lawsuit states. Two other investigations involving “serious allegations of sexual and/or physical abuse against an elder” have been pending since February 2012, according to the suit.

According to the lawsuit, the delays endanger residents and make it less likely a facility’s underlying problems will be addressed. The issues raised often need to be resolved quickly, before more harm can occur, witnesses’ memories fade – or witnesses die, the suit states.

Full Article and Source:
California sued over lagging nursing home inspections