Caregivers Strike to Protest Understaffing at Brius Nursing Home

Caregivers at Brius-operated River Valley Healthcare andWellness Centre in Redding, CA, held a two-day strike in late November 2018 toprotest understaffing, according to media reports.

Caregivers – including Certified Nursing Assistants and LVNs – say the quality of care at the facility has nosedived since Brius took over the 113-bed nursing home in November of 2014. Caregivers’ criticisms will be familiar to Brius observers. Nursing staff at the Redding facility say they are so short staffed that CNAs must care for as many as 20 patients during some shifts.

Meanwhile, the nursing home is having a tough time holding onto its staff. From 2015 and 2016, the facility’s annual staff turnover rate jumped from 31 percent to 61 percent, according to public records held by California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. This means that three of every five staffers left her job at the nursing home during 2016.

Although conditions at the facility have reportedly declined, its profits have soared, according to public records. From late 2015 (the first full reporting period with Brius as the facility’s operator) through 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available), the nursing home pocketed a staggering $2.3 million in profits. The facility’s operating profit margin has gone from -6 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in 2017. At the same time, the nursing home has entered into costly contracts with various businesses owned by Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz and his family members.

It’s unclear why Brius is still permitted to operate the facility. On July 8, 2016, the California Department of Public Health denied Brius a license to operate the nursing home based on Brius’s record of substandard care and legal violations. Brius appealed the health department’s decision, but it’s unclear why the state has failed to resolve the appeal more than two years later.