Personal Injury

Nursing home chain accused of substandard, life-threatening care

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a class of thousands of residents at 27 Colorado nursing homes operated by SavaSeniorCare claims that state officials allowed the nursing homes to operate without insurance in violation of state law, leaving residents without means to sue when they are abused and neglected, according to the Denver Post.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of family members of four people who died in the homes from dehydration, malnutrition and blood poisoning caused by neglected bed sores. The suit is also filed on behalf of a man who lost a testicle after being scalded during an act of abuse at the home. The suit cites “grossly substandard care, life-threatening care,” and negligence.

The nursing home group is also being sued for deceptive trade practices for promoting its nursing homes as providing quality care when, in fact, the homes have among the worst records in the state, according to the report.

The Health Care Availability Act requires all nursing homes be insured for $3 million each year with a cap of $500,000 per incident. In 2004, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment adopted a policy that allowed nursing homes to be self-insured provided they submit an affidavit stating that it has set aside $1 million for insurance claims.

However, investigators have found the affidavits are false and that the homes have no money set aside for any insurance claims. Attorneys for the families claim that the state did nothing to verify the affidavits were valid and that the nursing homes had set aside the money even though state law requires approval of self-insurance plans.