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Nursing home owned by target of Bee investigation to close after officials threaten its shutdown

A skilled nursing home in Auberry is closing next month after state officials threatened to shut it down as a result of “immediate and serious risks” to residents.

Investigators came away from an October visit to Wish-I-Ah Healthcare & Wellness Centre with a 74-page list of deficiencies and noted that a Wish-I-Ah patient who had a blood infection and a foodborne Salmonella infection died at a hospital on Sept. 28.

The California Department of Public Health notified Wish-I-Ah on Nov. 4 that it was suspending its license effective Dec. 10. A health care facility may not operate without a license.

The state also cut off Wish-I-Ah from Medicare and Medi-Cal, government health insurance programs, which means the nursing home cannot get federal payment for services provided to eligible patients. The majority of nursing home patients in California are covered by Medi-Cal.

The owners had the option to appeal the suspension order but opted to close, state health officials said.

Violations included unsanitary conditions in the kitchen, non-functioning bathrooms, linens unavailable to residents, an improperly maintained sewage treatment system, and lack of staff training on wound care. The report said the failures exposed residents and staff to infectious disease and noted the Sept. 28 death.

Wish-I-Ah is owned by Shlomo Rechnitz and his company, Brius Management. Rechnitz was a focus of a months-long investigation of California nursing home ownership published this month in The Sacramento Bee. According to The Bee investigation, Rechnitz, a 43-year-old Los Angeles entrepreneur, is one of the largest-nursing home owners in the state and “his homes have been the target of more complaints and federal deficiencies per bed than most other large chains in California.”

Read the entire Fresno Bee story here:

See the entire investigation by The Sacramento Bee.

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