Nursing Homes

Shlomo Rechnitz vs. California: Key documents

Following are key documents in the spate of actions government regulators have taken against California nursing home owner Shlomo Rechnitz.

August 28, 2014

The California Attorney General’s office files an emergency motion in federal bankruptcy court in Santa Ana, attempting to block the sale of 19 more facilities to nursing home owner Shlomo Rechnitz. Calling Rechnitz a “serial violator of rules within the skilled nursing industry,” the motion is filed on behalf of the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health Care Services.

August 29, 2014

Shlomo Rechnitz’s legal team opposes the emergency motion, referring to the state’s arguments as “overblown rhetoric” and “outrageous statements.” The matter eventually is resolved among the parties, and the state drops its opposition to Rechnitz’s acquisition of 19 facilities from the bankrupt Country Villa chain.

September 16, 2014

The California Department of Public Health notifies nursing home owner Shlomo Rechnitz that it is denying his application to assume operation of a Chico facility. The letter states that the licensure rejection is based on Rechnitz’s “inability to comply with the rules and regulations governing a skilled nursing facility.”

November 3, 2014

The California Department of Public Health suspends the license of Wish-I-Ah Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre in rural Fresno County. In its accusation, the state cites a series of problems, including a poorly maintained sewage treatment system, an infectious outbreak that sickened residents and staff and the death of a 75-year-old resident whose wound dressing was not properly changed.

March 13, 2015

Mark A. Johnson, an attorney for nursing home owner Shlomo Rechnitz, sends a lengthy email to the undersecretary of the state’s Health and Human Services Agency. Johnson complains that Rechnitz is being unfairly targeted by state health officials and cites the Chico licensure denial as evidence of the state’s “lack of communication, transparency and misrepresentations.”

March 19, 2015

The state issues a Class B citation and $2,000 fine against Gridley Healthcare and Wellness Centre. The citation describes alleged abuse and mistreatment of residents by certified nursing assistants. The investigation involves photographs taken of “inappropriately exposed” residents and posted online by staff. Two CNAs also are described as videotaping themselves dancing provocatively in front of at least one resident and posting the acts on social media.

April 3, 2015

The California Department of Public Health issues a Class A citation and $20,000 fine in connection with the suicide of resident Courtney Cargill, and this plan of correction is approved five days later. The state finds that South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital failed to adequately supervise the 57-year-old woman, who had a history of suicidal thoughts and delusions when she left the facility alone in November 2014 and lit herself on fire. (This document omits some details about her death that are contained in the original 2014 survey report.)

April 6, 2015

Jean Iacino, a top official at the California Department of Public Health, defends the state’s intensified scrutiny of Shlomo Rechnitz’s nursing home operations. In a response to Mark A. Johnson, an attorney for Rechnitz, Iacino suggests that the “remedy” to the owner’s regulatory problems is for him to improve the quality of care in his homes.