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California moves to revoke licenses for care homes after residents were left out in sun

‘His skin temperature was like 104.’ Son describes dad’s death from heat exposure in care home

The family of Gene Rogers is suing Meadow Oaks assisted living facility in Roseville after his death due to heat exposure in June of 2018. His son Jeff described the day his father suffered heat stroke in an interview on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2019.
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The family of Gene Rogers is suing Meadow Oaks assisted living facility in Roseville after his death due to heat exposure in June of 2018. His son Jeff described the day his father suffered heat stroke in an interview on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2019.

Acting after residents at two care homes for the elderly in Roseville and Chico were left alone in the sun and later died, California regulators are moving to revoke the licenses of both facilities.

The state Department of Social Services has filed documents to revoke the licenses of Meadow Oaks of Roseville and Compass Rose in Chico following the incidents, which occurred within two months of each other last year.

Social Services officials also are seeking to revoke for life the license of home care worker Dajonnae Harris, who allegedly “failed to provide the care and supervision necessary to meet the needs” of the Roseville resident who died of heat stroke, a Marine Corps veteran whose body temperature was 103.4 degrees when he arrived at the hospital.

A woman with the same name has outstanding arrest warrants issued in Sacramento and Placer counties for failure to appear in a case charging her with robbery, hit and run, theft and shoplifting, court records show.

The actions stem from two incidents last year in which residents were left outside on patios at the care homes, both of which are owned by Westmont Living, a La Jolla-based company that operates 13 facilities in California and Oregon.

The first incident occurred April 23, 2018, at the Chico home where a resident “was left out in the sun for several hours,” a state licensing report says.

The resident was discovered “dehydrated and unresponsive” without a shirt on and covered in dried vomit on his face, mouth and chest, documents say.

That resident, who is not identified in state reports, died two weeks later from what an autopsy report concluded were “significant conditions” that included “acute pneumonia” in both lungs.

State regulators initially fined the facility $500, and later added another $9,500 penalty.

Two months after the incident in Chico, Meadow Oaks of Roseville resident Gene Rogers was left on a patio in his wheelchair on June 30 for nearly two hours.

“On 6/30/18, during a heat storm with temperatures hovering around 103 degrees, Mr. Rogers was left unattended on the patio of this facility for an estimated 3-4 hours and suffered from extreme heat exposure which caused him to suffer a heat stroke,” according to a complaint filed with the state for the Rogers family by Carole Herman, president of the Foundation Aiding the Elderly, or FATE, in Sacramento.

The facility initially was fined $1,000, but state regulators later increased that to $15,000, the highest allowed.

The Rogers family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Westmont Living that is pending in Sacramento Superior Court.

The state’s effort to revoke Meadow Oaks license, spelled out in an eight-page accusation, says Harris, who had been licensed as a home care aide since April 2016, failed to care for Rogers and failed to note changes in his condition at Meadow Oaks the day he was left outside.

The accusation also alleges that workers at both facilities failed to properly care for the two residents and seeks to revoke the licenses for both homes.

Westmont Living did not respond to a request for comment, but lawyers for the company filed an answer with the state denying the allegations and objecting to having the licenses revoked.

Instead, the company is seeking a hearing over the proposed revocations that has yet to be scheduled.

Herman said efforts to revoke licenses of such facilities is unusual, but not unprecedented.

“It’s got to be pretty egregious for them to do it,” she said.

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Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.
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