In recent months, California officials hit Brius with a second “Class A” citation and $20,000 fine for substandard care, according to government records. The fine, issued August 18, 2016 at Brius’ Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in the Eureka, California, came just two weeks after another Brius nursing home was fined $20,000 for violations that required the emergency evacuation of a patient by ambulance to a hospital ICU.
Class A citations are issued for violations that put residents in imminent danger of death and/or serious harm.
According to records of the California Department of Public Health (see below), state investigators fined Seaview Rehab and Wellness Center for substandard care that led a resident to develop a “Stage 4” pressure sore in less than three weeks after arriving at the nursing home.
The resident arrived at the 99-bed nursing home on November 18, 2015 following a hospital stay for heart surgery, according to investigators. The nursing home’s initial assessment of the resident noted he suffered from severe cognitive impairments and was nearly totally dependent on staff for all of his daily needs. These two things placed the resident at risk of developing pressure sores, which prompted the nursing home to establish a regimen of care that included checking the resident’s skin often and regularly for any abnormalities.
On December 2, 2015, two weeks into his stay at the nursing home, staff noticed an open area on the resident’s right buttock. According to the inspector’s report, the open wound had no dressing and was neither measured nor documented. The staff member who noticed the skin abnormality stated it looked “like a popped blister.”
Five days later, the resident was rushed to a hospital emergency room suffering from a life-threatening 102 degree fever, altered level of consciousness, and increased tremors. Hospital records revealed that the resident’s symptoms were due to complications from a “Stage 4” pressure sore. The pressure sore measured 2.5 inches in diameter, was complicated with dead tissue at the wound bed that had to be surgically removed. The sore had become infected with multiple bacteria which resulted in pain, sepsis, and a virulent staph infection (MRSA) that required hospitalization and prolonged antibiotic treatments.
Multiple academic studies indicate that lower staffing levels among nursing home caregivers are associated with higher rates of pressure sores, hospitalizations, urinary tract infections, and other problems.
Between June 2013 and June 2016, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued 37 “Class A” citations at Brius nursing homes. The CDPH cited the volume and severity of these citations as evidence of the Brius’ systematic violation of the rules governing the state’s skilled nursing industry. In July 2016, the CDPH took an unprecedented step of denying Brius’ application to operate five nursing homes.
Brius is owned by Shlomo Rechnitz, a Los Angeles billionaire who runs the company through network of more than 130 corporations.