A Willowbrook assisted living facility accused of dumping patients on Skid Row has reached a $450,000 settlement with the city of Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.
The Avalon Villa Care Center did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, which Feuer said his office began investigating after an incident in April when a diabetic and disabled man, Ronald Anderson, was allegedly evicted from the facility by its staff and dropped off in front of the Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row.
Feuer said during a City Hall news conference that the settlement was “among the most comprehensive and detailed we have ever had, and I am confident that it is going to have a major impact on ensuring that similar people aren’t suffering the same alleged consequences.”
Under terms of the settlement, Avalon Villa Care Center at 12029 S. Avalon Blvd. has agreed to pay $450,000, including $75,000 in civil penalties and $325,000 to support the hiring and training of staff dedicated to the implementation of homeless discharge planning protocols, while also addressing quality of care issues.
The settlement also requires Avalon Villa Care Center pay $50,000 for housing for homeless patients who are unable to afford shelter at the time of their discharge. The discharges of homeless residents will also be tracked, monitored and audited moving forward, Feuer’s office said.
“Avalon Villa strongly disputes that it has inappropriately discharged any patients. While it rejects the allegations of the city attorney, Avalon Villa decided against expending its limited resources on a protracted litigation with the city, ” Mark A. Johnson, an attorney for Avalon, told City News Service. “The facility agreed to this settlement to preserve resources for its patients and staff rather than attorneys. Moreover, the facility is already doing most, if not all, of the elements required by the injunction. Avalon Villa fully cooperated with the city attorney in reaching this resolution, and the facility is focused on caring for its patients and supporting its community.”
Feuer called patient dumping “inhumane” and noted that his office during his tenure has already resolved multiple cases totaling about $4 million.
Rev. Andy Bales, who works with the Union Rescue Mission, said he came in contact with Anderson shortly after he was dropped off in Skid Row without any of his diabetes medication.
“It really was a life and death situation, whenever a diabetic is dropped off without what they need. And so we were happy to be there,” Bales said. “We went and got a hospital bed, an $1,800 hospital bed, so that Ronald could rest and sleep, with his challenges in life. And we consider him a dear friend and continued to look after him.”
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