Magnolia Health Corporation, a Visalia, Calif.-based company that operates health care and assisted living facilities throughout California’s Central Valley, will pay $325,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. EEOC filed suit against the company in September 2015, charging that since 2012, Magnolia had discriminated against a class of applicants and employees on the basis of their disability, having a record of a disability, or being perceived as having one. EEOC said that Magnolia denied employees accommodations for their disabilities, and refused to hire, or fired, applicants and employees who had disabilities or were regarded as such. EEOC also said that Magnolia rescinded employment offers when applicants’ post-offer medical examinations indicated that they had a record of a disability or had current medical restrictions. EEOC further charged that Magnolia required employees be completely free of medical restrictions to work. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). …
The owners of three residential care facilities for elderly residents were issued $2.2 million in citations Wednesday by the state Labor Commissioners Office, which determined the Spring Valley couple paid employees far less than they were due. The citations were issued to Fairhill Castle LLC and its owners, Lamberto “June” and Jesusan Deleon for minimum wage, overtime, meal period and workers’ compensation violations from September 2013 to August 2014, according to the commission. The Deleons were ordered to pay $1.3 million in underpaid wages and premiums, nearly $717,000 in damages and around $171,000 in civil penalties. The Deleons typically employed a husband and wife team at each Spring Valley location to look after the residents 24 hours a day, six to seven days a week, according to the state agency, a division of the Department of Industrial Relations. The caregivers were paid between $900 and $1,300 each month in cash, or around $1.25 to $1.80 per hour, the commission reported. …
As he prepared to kick off his presidential campaign, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed the state budget Sunday after using his veto powers to excise grants for conservation groups and a provision that would have given payday lenders new authority. …. The two-year, $72.7 billion spending plan doesn’t raise taxes, freezes tuition at University of Wisconsin campuses, cuts university funding by $250 million and puts off until later a lasting solution for funding highways…Walker also used his veto powers to:
Make changes to an overhaul of the state’s long-term care programs known as Family Care and IRIS. Those elements dictated the process used to make sure rates paid to integrated health agencies were sound, specified the state had to have at least five regions for the programs, and put limits on when open enrollment periods could be held for the programs. The changes clear the way for Walker to establish one statewide program if he wants, instead of having it carved into regions. That would make it difficult for existing regional nonprofit entities to continue participating in the program and make it more likely that national for-profit corporations would…Kill a requirement that half the money the state receives for selling public land be used to pay off debt and half set aside for future land purchases. Walker said he wanted all the money to go toward paying off debt.
Source: Mid-Hudson News, June 24, 2015
Trouble is brewing at Golden Hill nursing home, the 240-bed senior care facility formerly owned by Ulster County, but privatized two years ago. Critics say resident-to-certified nursing assistant ratios at Golden Hill have significantly risen to 40-to-1 since privatization in June 2013. A loophole in state regulations leaves no minimum ratio for nursing homes, they said, and also fail to define how appropriate care ratios should be determined, or by whom.
Experts: Too soon to tell about Ulster nursing home – Neuhaus’ Ulster model invested millions but laid off half its workers
Source: Hema Easley, Chronicle, April 17, 2014
Ulster, which like Orange was underwriting its county-owned nursing home, transferred Golden Hill Health Care Facility to an LDC, which sold it to a private operator last June. Counties across the state are looking to sell off their nursing homes because many are running at a deficit. Neighboring Rockland County is currently looking for a buyer, but Ulster has completed the process…. When Golden Hill was taken over by VestraCare, it laid off all employees and required them to reapply for their jobs, according to media reports and the CSEA that represents Golden Hill employees. Shannon Cayea, the chief executive officer of VestraCare told the Daily Freeman that about 50 percent of the 244 employees were rehired though the CSEA said less than half were offered jobs. Ulster County paid out more than $1.5 million in separation costs to employees, the Daily Freeman reported. The remaining employees are still working without a contract nine months after they were rehired….
Some improvements after sale of county-owned nursing home to private firm
Source: Patricia Doxsey, freemanonline.com, March 16, 2014
It’s been nearly eight months since Ulster County turned the Golden Hill Health Care Facility over to a private company. By all accounts, the concerns and fears that surrounded the debate over whether the county should sell its nursing home to a profit-making company, have proven to be unfounded. In fact, Ken Hyatt, the head of the facility’s Residents’ Council, said that in some cases, conditions have markedly improved under VestraCare, the company that purchased the 280-bed facility. … Despite the opposition, Hein’s plan to transfer the facility to Local Development Corp. to market and sell the facility moved forward, and on Nov. 30, 2012, Local Development Corp. voted unanimously to sell the nursing home to Susquehanna Realty, a partnership comprising Dr. Anthony J. Bacchi, Martin Farbenblum and Edward O. Farbenblum. Ownership of the facility was transferred to that group on June 26, 2013. The group now operates under the name VestraCare which owns several nursing homes in New York and Long Island….
$11.25M bidder for Golden Hill chosen for its track record
Source: Michael Novinson, Times Herald-Record, December 1, 2012
The company selected to buy the Golden Hill nursing home wants to introduce new programs at the infirmary and bring 200 assisted-living beds to the Kingston Hospital site. Susquehanna Realty LLC will pay $11.25 million to buy 280 nursing beds, a 157,000-square-foot building and 20 acres of land in Kingston. The Golden Hill Local Development Corp., tasked with selling Ulster County’s infirmary, chose Susquehanna over five other bidders and announced its decision Friday. ….
Golden Hill may be privatized
Source: Michael Novinson, Times Herald-Record, November 16, 2011
Legislators overwhelmingly approved Tuesday the first step in privatizing Ulster County’s nursing home.
CSEA slams Hein over plans to privatize Golden Hill
Source: MidHudson News, October 6, 2011
Ulster County budget includes big changes for the Golden Hill Nursing Home
Source: John Wagner, YNN, October 5, 2011
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein unveils his 2012 budget proposal, including a 2.5 percent property tax increase and a plan to privatize Golden Hill Nursing Home. The future of Golden Hill’s 280 beds have been up in the air for quite some time, but now legislators must make a decision.
More than 1,300 low-paid workers at Bay Area nursing homes and residential care centers were cheated out of minimum wages, overtime and other legally required payments totaling millions of dollars from 2011 to 2014, the U.S. Labor Department said Tuesday. …One case cited in the Bay Area report involved Farol’s Residential Care Home on Eucalyptus Drive near Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco. In a settlement approved by a federal judge in February, the owners admitted they had failed to pay time-and-a-half rates for overtime to 27 employees who worked more than 40 hours in a week between November 2011 and November 2013, and had failed to pay minimum wages to 14 of those workers. … Some owners have also retaliated against employees who complained about pay shortages, the Labor Department said. In August, Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said the owners of Lake Alhambra Assisted Living Center in Antioch had punished employees who reported violations by placing some of them on unpaid “vacations” for a week, and by making plans to sell the home to new owners who would replace the entire staff….
Source: WSMV ∙ November 10, 2014
An assisted living center that Metro government turned over to a private contractor in July now faces money problems. Employees said paychecks have bounced and their health insurance isn’t being honored. Channel 4 has also learned the company is behind on its electric bill. In March, Metro Council voted to privatize the J.B. Knowles Assisted Living Center. The facility, now called Autumn Hills, is home to about 100 seniors….
Fault Lines’ Josh Rushing investigates the growing business of elderly care, and finds out what happens when corporations put profits ahead of care. Elder abuse and neglect is one of America’s fastest growing crimes targeting its most vulnerable populations. In long-term care facilities, cases of abuse and neglect are largely out of view and underreported. As a result countless elderly victims are suffering alone in silence. One in three patients wound up in facilities failing to meet basic care requirements, while over $5 billion went to substandard homes in one year alone, according to the U.S. government. Many nursing homes reported staffing levels insufficient to provide adequate care, including some of the largest for-profit chains in the U.S., according to a study. Enforcement agencies say they are limited by new budget cuts. While, the business of elder care is growing. Fault Lines investigates how problems of government oversight and corporate accountability persist in many states, and how poorly rated facilities continue to operate without penalties, despite repeated offenses. …
The 6 articles you should read about the privatization of elderly care
Background reading for Fault Lines’ newest episode “Elderly Incorporated”
“Keep the staffing low…keep profits high.” – tweets from Elderly Inc.
Fault Lines’ live tweet during the premiere of “Elderly Incorporated” summarized in a Storify.
Elderly Incorporated: slideshow
A slideshow featuring photographs from Fault Lines’ “Elderly Incorporated” episode.
Cost concerns may derail efforts by lawmakers and advocates to require more frequent inspections and a swifter response to allegations of abuse and neglect. … California legislators and activists say attempts to reform the state’s troubled assisted living industry are being obstructed — and they are placing much of the blame on the administration of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. Early this year lawmakers began crafting more than a dozen bills intended to strengthen California’s oversight of the state’s roughly 7,700 assisted living facilities, which provide housing and day-to-day help to seniors and people with disabilities. California has one of the loosest regulatory regimes in the nation, requiring inspections of facilities only once every five years and meting out tiny fines for abuse or neglect, even for fatalities. The system’s failings — notably the bungled closure of a facility last year that jeopardized the lives of 19 seniors — have been the subject of investigations by news organizations in California and nationally, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, ProPublica, and Frontline. But as the legislative session draws to a close, some of the toughest reform measures have failed, while others are undergoing substantial — and controversial — revisions. Two proposals to step up inspections have died, as has a bill requiring the state to post more information about facilities online for consumers….
Source: Liz Reid, WESA, June 17, 2014
Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh said she was bothered by a recent advertising campaign for the Kane Regional Centers, the county’s assisted care facilities. It was that two-year, $187,000 ad campaign that got Heidelbaugh thinking about whether the Kanes could be partially or fully privatized. … According to Heidelbaugh’s bill, the four Kane facilities have “collectively operated at a loss ranging from $1.2 million to $10.2 million per year” for the last 11 years, and given that fact, she doesn’t think the county should be spending money on advertising. Dennis Biondo, executive director of the Kane Regional Centers, said he would characterize those numbers not as an operating loss, but as a county contribution. “We’re funded by a number of sources,” Biondo said. “We receive reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, private insurers, and the county subsidizes or contributes a portion toward the operations each year.” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he agrees with Biondo, pointing out that county government is not a for-profit entity….
Source: Daily Herald, May 19, 2014
…. Six people with disabilities live at the home, called Cambridge House for the quiet Des Plaines street where it sits. Mathis is charged with taking care of them for the afternoon, overnight and early the next morning. He charts their progress, prepares meals, cleans up, and helps them bathe and use the bathroom. Mathis, 62, has received $1.70 in raises in a dozen years for his work……. Workers who do similar jobs but work directly for the state at institutions for the disabled make as much as 50 percent more, with benefits and a pension. But Gov. Pat Quinn has worked to shift the task of caring for people with disabilities to community settings like Cambridge House instead of institutions……