Report: Brius failed to follow through on Humboldt pledge

Brius Healthcare Services CEO Shlomo Rechnitz has failed to follow through on his pledge to work with local officials to improve health care for frail seniors, according to a report in the Eureka Times-Standard.

Late last year, Rechnitz told the paper that he would set up a charitable foundation to help pay for treatment of the elderly. He also pledged to work “with local stakeholders to determine how we can better care for our elderly and ensure that they have the necessary care and services locally.”

However, according to the Times-Standard, Rechnitz has failed to set up the foundation and neither Brius nor its administrative company, Rockport Healthcare Services, has followed up with local officials.

“We have not heard from any representative from Rockport in months,” North Coast State Sen. Mike McGuire told the newspaper. “As we have seen, Rockport has a track record of empty promises and it is deeply concerning that they haven’t followed through on any of the commitments that they made during this artificial crisis that they created.”

Rechnitz, who operates every nursing home in Humboldt County, threatened to close three of them last year. The closures, which Rechnitz claimed were needed because his homes were losing money, would have resulted in nearly 150 patients being transferred out of Humboldt County and far from their families, according to the Times-Standard.

Rechnitz later relented, closing only one of his five Humboldt County homes,  but Suzi Fregeau, Humboldt County’s long-term care ombudsman, told the paper that Rechnitz is still understaffing his facilities and failing to provide adequate care.

Rechnitz’s homes in Humboldt County have been fined over $160,000 this year for patient care violations stemming from understaffing. They have also been named in three wrongful death lawsuits. Two of the lawsuits allege that patients died from Stage 4  pressure ulcers that became infected, while the third accuses Brius of dumping a patient at a local hotel where he died four days later.