Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Monday his office reached a settlement with Lakeview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility, which was accused of patient dumping during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as abuse, neglect, denial of care and efforts to conceal its conduct.
It is the second settlement that Feuer has reached with the Westlake/MacArthur Park facility in the last two years. In 2019, a settlement for allegations of patient dumping and not meeting quality-of-care mandates was reached requiring it to pay civil penalties and submit a court-ordered monitor to oversee its operations.
“The fact we filed a second lawsuit against this facility, and demanded important new protections, shows just how tenacious we’ll be in standing up for vulnerable patients like these,” Feuer said.
The settlement announced Monday resolves allegations against the facility that it:
— failed to administer patients’ medications and fabricated records to show that medications had been given;
— unlawfully discharged elderly and seriously ill patients, without families’ consent, onto the street or into lower level-of-care facilities during the pandemic;
— failed to protect patients from neglect and abuse;
— failed to report incidents of neglect and abuse to the court-appointed performance monitor and the L.A. County Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which was required following the February 2019 settlement; and
— failed to meet certain quality of care standards.
The settlement requires the facility to pay $275,000 in penalties costs and expenses to monitor the nursing home, and the facility is required to:
— double its number of nurses;
— install a performance monitor, appointed by the City Attorney’s Office, to inspect, observe, provide guidance and ensure that the facility is meeting all laws and regulations, as well as providing the highest standards of patient care;
— maintain a 14 day supply of N95 masks, surgical masks and gowns at all times to protect residents and staff from COVID-19;
— fully comply with the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 mitigation plan, train staff on health protocols and work to reduce resident positivity rates to less than 10%; and
— improve patient quality of care and ensure that residents receive medications prescribed by their doctors, while also providing accurate and timely records of medication distribution and administration.
“This victory for these patients is all the more important given COVID-19’s devastating impact on nursing home residents in L.A. and across the nation,” Feuer said. “Now there will be dramatic improvements in patient care, new COVID-related protections, improved oversight when patients are discharged, and ongoing work by a performance monitor to ensure critical safeguards are followed.”
Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents the neighborhood that the facility is in, said:
“The City Attorney has achieved a crucial victory for our seniors, one of our most vulnerable populations. Patient dumping, abuse, neglect and denial of care by Lakeview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility is outrageous and unacceptable.”
“We must remain vigilant in keeping nursing home operators accountable to ensure the best care for our seniors,” he said.
The City Attorney’s Office said Lakeview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility cooperated with the city throughout the process.
In a statement sent to City News Service, the facility’s administrator DJ Weaver said:
“Lakeview Terrace takes resident care very seriously, and it is the cornerstone of everything our staff does. Throughout the pandemic, our compassionate and caring staff has been showing up each and every day to keep our residents safe during these unprecedented times. Lakeview’s staff has kept COVID-19 under control, and provided residents with excellent rehabilitative outcomes with a very clinically complex patient population.
“The settlement with the City Attorney is a reaffirmation of that commitment, and as noted by the City Attorney, Lakeview has cooperated throughout the entire process. Although Lakeview disputes the underlying allegations, the costs associated with litigating against the city are most appropriately put towards resident care. Due to patient privacy and ongoing appeals, Lakeview cannot comment on the specific allegations.
“With that said, Lakeview is working alongside the performance monitor — who has reported to the City Attorney that improvements have been made. The performance monitor will be able to advise and confirm that certain metrics related to patient care are met or exceeded. Put simply, all Lakeview residents can expect the utmost in care and treatment. Residents have been, and will continue to be, Lakeview’s highest priority.”