Just another reminder to do your homework when checking out nursing homes: Sun-Mar, a company that runs 18 skilled nursing facilities in Southern California, had boasted in its brochures about the outstanding care it provides. Unfortunately, that was found not to be the case. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sun-Mar agreed to pay $2 million to former residents in a settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit that alleged substandard care of its elderly patients.
The Times quoted the attorney in the case as saying, “These facilities are giving out brochures about this wonderful, superlative care — one need only look at their regulatory history . . . and see that it’s just not true.” Approximately 4,000 people joined the suit. Contrary to the company’s promotional materials, state regulators found Sun-Mar homes were sorely understaffed and that employees were insufficiently trained.
The attorney laid part of the blame on the California Department of Public Health for not carefully overseeing the facilities, according to the newspaper report. State governments oversee the licensing of nursing homes in each state.
According to the California Public Health Department (CDPH), the department’s responsibility includes overseeing the certification of nursing assistants and licensing of nursing home administrators.
The lawsuit mentioned other facilities across the region where state regulators noted deficiencies. “If everyone had known the regulatory history of these facilities they would not have put their mother or father in them,” the attorney is quoted as saying.
As part of the settlement, a monitor chosen by the plaintiffs’ attorney will inspect five Sun-Mar facilities at random each quarter.