The First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco has reinstated a lawsuit filed by a group of patients claiming that the owner of 16 Alameda County Covenant Care nursing homes violated California staffing standards beginning in 2006.
Covenant Care had the lawsuit dismissed arguing that only state regulators could enforce nursing homes to provide 3.2 hours of care to each patient per day. However, the Appeals Court overruled the decision saying that California law says that residents of nursing facilities are authorized “to bring actions themselves to remedy violations of their rights,” to include the “right to reside in an adequately staffed facility.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the plaintiffs can receive damages of $500 for each patient’s rights violation. However, an attorney for the plaintiff said the main goal of the lawsuit is the issuance of a compliance order.
The SF Gate reported Covenant Care operates 45 skilled facilities in seven states and that an investigation by California Watch journalists found that while they had received additional state funding through 2008, to the tune of $15 million, 13 of the facilities in California had cut staffing.