SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arraignment of Emily Jones for the neglect and abuse of a 69-year-old female resident at Brookdale Senior Living, an assisted living facility in Riverside, California. Emily Jones, a registered nurse working for VITAS to provide hospice care, was assigned as the resident’s case manager and allegedly failed to record the discovery of open ulcers in the resident’s medical records. She also failed to notify a medical doctor and the resident’s family of the resident’s deteriorating condition. As a consequence of this lack of care, the resident’s condition worsened, ultimately resulting in the resident’s death. Jones was arraigned today in Riverside County Superior Court on one count of felony elder abuse.
"Elder abuse does not always come in the form of a physical attack. It can result from utter neglect and lack of proper care, as we allege in the case of Emily Jones,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Jones, a registered nurse, owed her patients due care. Assisted living residents are a vulnerable population all too often victimized by acts of neglect and improper care. We must hold our medical professionals accountable for their actions. The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting the health and safety of our residents.”
After receiving a complaint, the California Board of Registered Nursing (the Board) opened an administrative investigation into Jones’ actions. The Board’s investigation concluded that as the resident’s case manager, Jones failed to properly assess an ulcer that she discovered on the patient’s right heel. As a result, a Plan of Care was never developed and the ulcer worsened into a wound that required the resident to undergo emergency surgery to her right foot, which had become septic and gangrenous. Following the surgery, the resident suffered a continued decline in health and eventually passed away. The felony complaint, filed in the Riverside County Superior Court, charges Jones with one count of felony elder abuse and alleges that as a result of the abuse, the victim suffered great bodily harm.
The charges stem from a criminal investigation conducted by the California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA) following the Board’s findings. Through the DMFEA, the Attorney General’s office works to protect Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who perpetuate fraud on the Medi-Cal program. DMFEA also investigates and prosecutes those responsible for abuse, neglect, and fraud committed against elderly and dependent adults in the state. DMFEA regularly works with whistleblowers, the California Department of Health Care Services, and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of the complaint is available here.
The DMFEA receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $33,829,000 for Federal fiscal year 2019-2020. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $11,379,000 for fiscal year 2019-20, is funded by the State of California. The Federal fiscal year is defined as October 1, 2019, through September 30, 2020.