California State Senator: “I have never seen a corporation lie like this”

Last Thursday, the North Coast Journal reported on the fierce opposition to Brius’ effort to close three nursing homes in Humboldt County – Eureka, Pacific, and Seaview rehabilitation and wellness centers – and transfer approximately 200 frail, elderly and disabled residents to nursing homes hundreds of miles from their families.

On September 8, nursing home residents at Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and their family members attended a meeting at the nursing home where Brius executive Vincent Hambright explained the company’s decision to close the facilities and relocate dozens of seniors to other nursing homes several counties away. According to the Journal, Catherine Pugel, whose mother and father share a room at the home, “quivered with anger” as Hambright spoke about lost profits. “My mom has Alzheimer’s, she’s in the final stages,” said Pugel. “Will a transfer kill her? Will such a transfer be traumatic? These are the things we are now looking at.” Pugel says that her parents, who have been married for 52 years, could be forced to live apart as a result of the company’s plans to shutter the facilities.

And it’s not just residents and their loved ones that are upset and frustrated. California State Sen. Mike McGuire told the newspaper: “To be honest, we are tired of the excuses. Rockport [a Brius subsidiary] needs to stand up and do their damned job.”

“We met with them today for the first time,” said McGuire. “I have never seen a situation like this, in all of my time, handled so poorly. I have never seen a corporation lie like this one has.”

During the meeting, one family member “confronted [Hambright], saying that staff taking care of her parents had personally said they were overworked, understaffed, tired.”

Here’s what happened next, according to the article:

“We are not understaffed,” Hambright insisted at the meeting.

“‘Excuse me, you are,’ said a large, mustachioed man, who received an alarmed call from his mother-in-law in the middle of the night the week prior. He said he and his wife had to personally come down to the facility and change her soiled diapers because there was only one person on staff for the entire wing. ‘You are understaffed. You need to do something about this. And I want you to know – I don’t go away.’”

Other residents chimed in with similar stories, including a nursing home resident whose toes had been amputated and who said his bandages hadn’t been changed in two days due to a lack of a wound care nurse.