CBS Los Angeles is reporting allegations of abuse and wrongful deaths in at least one facility owned by the largest nursing home chain in the state of California. Schlomo Rechnitz, a well-known philanthropist and Los Angeles millionaire, owns several companies, which, in turn, own 81 nursing homes in California. In 2014, an investigative reporter found that the nursing homes collectively had received $500 million in Medicare and Medi-Cal money. Nonetheless, Rechnitz has come under fire in recent years for alleged abuse and neglect of nursing home residents, particularly at the Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre West in Inglewood.
In 2014, Czersale Hilton admitted her mother to Centinela West. Five weeks later, her mother abruptly passed away. Hilton has sued Centinela West on allegations of elder abuse and negligence. The lawsuit claims that Hilton’s mother was admitted to the facility for rehabilitative care after being hospitalized for chest pains, but in good condition. Emergency personnel transported her mother back to the hospital five weeks later, where she died after being in critical condition with pneumonia, dehydration, and a body temperature of less than 80 degrees.
The most recent 2015 Medicare nursing home profile ranks Centinela West as receiving three stars out of five, but only two stars, which is considered to be below average, in terms of health inspections and nursing staffing. The federal government decertified another former Rechnitz facility, South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital, after a resident set herself on fire last year. Decertification prohibits a facility from receiving Medicare funds. The FBI has raided two other Rechnitz facilities, including Alta Vista Healthcare & Wellness Center in Riverside, although they have filed no charges to date. Furthermore, the California Attorney General filed charges of involuntary manslaughter against the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing facility in Montrose after the death of a patient, and has sought to prevent Rechnitz from obtaining any more licenses to own nursing home due to a repeated refusal to comply with industry standards.
At Boller & Vaughan, we are wrongful death lawyers who pride ourselves on representing the rights of those countless individuals who suffer injuries and even death due to the wrongful behavior of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care homes. The devastation of losing a loved one can be overwhelming and traumatic. Allow us to handle the legal aspects of your situation, while you and your family focus on the healing process. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.