California inspectors flunk Brius kitchen in San Rafael

Brius’ San Rafael Wellness & Healthcare Center is located in one of the state’s wealthiest counties, but like many nursing homes operated by Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz, it can’t pass a basic health and safety inspection.

The latest issue surrounds it serving expired food to residents. Last year, the California Department of Public Health issued a 45-page report citing the nursing home for stocking its kitchen with expired food including six boxes of “thickened apple juice” that had been expired for nearly four months.

Inspectors also found bagels that had had been expired for more than a week and five bags of dry beans and three bags of chicken flavor stuffing that been expired for 18 months.

Not only were the food temperature logs and kitchen cleaning logs incomplete, but inspectors found that they were covered with a “thick black sticky substance.”

The facility was also cited for its failure to “employ a qualified dietitian” to manage its dietary services.

Today, as the state is reportedly preparing to cite the nursing home for more violations discovered during a subsequent inspection, issues with the kitchen have still not been fully resolved, according to caregivers.

This is hardly the first time that state regulators have cited the San Rafael facility, where Brius has refused to adopt caregivers’ proposals for improved staffing levels and other reforms designed to improve residents’ care and daily lives. In 2014, the facility was cited for being understaffed and under-resourced. Among the items in short supply were gloves and underwear.

Another 2014 report found that the linoleum floor had missing sections and the wooden handrail next to the bathroom was splintering. One resident described the facility as a “slum.”

The next year, inspectors cited the facility for continuing to admit patients during a norovirus outbreak. According to state records, the new patients soon were showing signs of being infected with the virus, which causes fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

When questioned by inspectors about admitting the patients, facility managers responded: “We have already taken the hit financially,” according to state records. Those mangers initially told inspectors that the new patients were admitted to a separate ward, but when pressed for floor plans, they admitted no such ward existed.