The Mercury News reported that California prosecutors sued Mariner Health Care Services which owns and operates 19 nursing homes in California. While the operator identifies represents itself as Mariner Health Care on its website, the defendants are a “family” of related entities that together administer hundreds of nursing homes. Each run by “upwards of a dozen legal entities with various shell entities.”
The lawsuit accuses the for-profit chain of “trading people for profits at every turn.” Mariner Health Care Services has “siphoned off funds necessary for appropriate staffing,” according to the lawsuit filed by the California Department of Justice.
The unsafe staffing levels cause neglect and abuse, leading to unnecessary leg amputations, bone ulcers, spread of infections and unreported sexual and physical assaults. The suit also alleges Mariner illegally dumped residents without lawful discharge procedures to admit new Medicare patients. Mariner also falsified information reported to CMS to inflate its star ratings.
Inadequate staffing and inadequate infection control caused hundreds of patients and staff to get sick with COVID-19 at Mariner nursing homes, and dozens have died. The chain has a history of problems that started long before COVID-19. The facility did not sufficiently train employees about infection prevention practices or provide access to any written procedures about infection control.
In addition to poor care, the facilities have discharged patients without safe discharge plans and adequate notice. The state filed a lawsuit in March for similar violations by another nursing home, Brookdale Senior Living.