OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today secured a settlement against a Contra Costa County skilled nursing facility resolving allegations of understaffing and patient abuse and neglect. Today’s settlement resolves claims that for five years, San Miguel Villa subjected its patients to poor care due to understaffing and effectively rendered a number of its services useless. Today’s settlement amounts to a total of $2.3 million, with California receiving $1.2 million.
“Corporate profits should never be placed above patient needs and care,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Every patient is entitled to humane care, and skilled nursing facilities should always have the appropriate level of staffing to ensure this standard of dignity is met. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their critical help during the course of this investigation. With the help of our federal partners, my office will continue to protect the well-being of all Medi-Cal beneficiaries.”
“Residents of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable in our community, and they rely on Medicare and Medi-Cal programs to provide the care and services they must have,” said United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “Nursing homes are entrusted to impart competent and quality care to their residents. This case demonstrates that when federal funds are provided but substandard care is delivered, this office is committed to seeking accountability.”
In June 2017, the California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA) responded to a report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California (USAO) involving allegations of overmedication of residents at San Miguel Villa. The USAO requested DMFEA assistance in the investigation. The investigation, conducted by DMFEA and the USAO, analyzed residents’ medical charts, surveys from the California Department of Public Health, prescription records, and publicly available staffing information from 2012-2017 – the time frame when the alleged mistreatment occurred. The investigation uncovered evidence of understaffing at the facility resulting in harm to residents, such as increased falls, patient-on-patient violence, weight loss, and overmedication to render patients more manageable. Today’s settlement amounts to a total of $2.3 million, with California receiving $1.2 million.
The California Department of Justice’s DMFEA protects Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who defraud the Medi-Cal program as well as those who commit elder abuse. These settlements are made possible only through the coordination and collaboration of governmental agencies, as well as the critical help from whistleblowers who report incidences of abuse or Medi-Cal fraud at oag.ca.gov/dmfea/reporting.
DMFEA receives 75% of its funding from HHS under a grant award totaling $53,792,132 for federal fiscal year 2022-2023 The remaining 25% is funded by the State of California. The federal fiscal year is defined as October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023.
A copy of the settlement is available here.