Elder Abuse These are the faces of our parents, our grandparents, our heroes. Nearly a quarter million of California's elderly are also victims of abuse. CAOC is fighting to protect their rights.
These are the facts: More than 225,000 seniors in California are victims of elder abuse in nursing homes every year, and that number is no doubt increasing as the state’s elderly population continues to grow. Some are hit, shaken or otherwise physically assaulted; some are sexually or emotionally abused; some are neglected and go without proper food, hygiene or medical care; some have their property or even their life savings stolen from them. Nearly one-third of nursing homes caring for Medicare/Medicaid patients have been cited for serious violations and more than 90% (pdf) have been cited for health and safety violations. Isn't it about time we protected our elders?In 2003 the Consumer Attorneys of California, working with seniors’ advocates, formed the coalition “Protect Our Parents” to protect patients from nursing home abuse. The coalition passed AB 634 (Steinberg) to prevent nursing homes from secretly settling elder abuse cases and sweeping the evidence under the rug.
CAOC has continued the fight against elder abuse on two fronts.
AB 927 (McCarty), the Nursing Home Ownership Disclosure Act of 2015, strengthens laws governing acquisition of nursing homes and operator requirements while providing other safeguards against abuse. Fact sheet (PDF) Will be heard in 2016
AB 601 (Eggman) boosts oversight to help ensure operators of small group homes for the elderly don’t have a prior history of poor performance or abuse. Fact sheet (PDF) Signed by governor and becomes law Jan. 1, 2016
Consumer attorneys have also helped our senior population by successfully holding accountable those operators who don't keep the best interests of the elderly at heart. In one of the largest class action lawsuits in recent history, a jury in Humboldt County found a national nursing home operator, Skilled Healthcare, had intentionally failed to meet legally mandated minimum staffing levels in 22 of its California facilities. California law requires that nursing homes provide patients with a minimum of 3.2 hours of nursing care per day. After the 2010 jury verdict, the case was eventually resolved for $68.2 million, with Skilled under an injunction to meet minimum staffing requirements going forward. A clear message was sent: These facilities must follow the law. Nursing home operators around the country have taken notice and taken steps to meet staffing requirements, knowing they will be held accountable in the civil justice system.