No One Looking When Care Home, Closed by the State, Abandons Patients

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Notice of closing at Valley Springs Manor (photo: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle)

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) knew who it was dealing with when the agency told the owners of Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley they had to give up their operator’s license by last Thursday because of numerous violations—the Bay Area News Group reported that the owners had lost their vermin-infested senior care facility in Oakland to foreclosure six months earlier.

This time, 14 sick and elderly patients at the nursing home, some of them bedridden, were abandoned by the staff last week without any transition in place for the closed facility. The state had permitted the facility to remain open over the weekend to place its patients in other care centers.

But the staff left and on Saturday, three remaining workers who stayed without pay, including a cook and a janitor, called 911. Paramedics took most of the patients to other care centers but at least one man was hospitalized.

Court records reviewed by the newsgroup indicated the owners, the Manuel family—wife Hilda, husband Rodelio and daughter Mary—had similar problems in March with their Eden Manor senior facility in Oakland. That home was taken over by new owners who renamed it WoodPark and cleaned up a disaster.

“We had to work very hard to get the license because the place was so dilapidated, managing partner Cristina Flores told the Bay Area reporter. “There was inadequate staff, inadequate training, the food was far below standard. They were just being served beans and rice.”

The Department of Social Services reportedly cited numerous violations in a license revocation complaint that covered the Oakland and Castro Valley facilities and a third one in Modesto dating back to 2008. It reportedly cited a general lack of staff training, no criminal checks of employees, sloppy medication dispersal, feces on the wall, fire code violations, rodent droppings, and movement of patients without their permission or notification of relatives.

The license at Sundial Manor, the Modesto home owned by the Manuels, is also under review. The Merced Sun Star said staff and residents at the 65-patient facility don’t know if there will be new management or new ownership, or if it will be closed. The reporter did not come back with any tales of horror, but the home is vulnerable. About half of the residents are in a unit that cares for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.   

The Manuel record of senior facility ownership goes back more than two decades and was mentioned prominently in a court declaration involving the Oakland site foreclosure. Lawsuits going back to 1997 involved a $4.1 million loan from Wells Fargo and a $2.3 million debt to the owners of a facility they bought 16 years ago. It wasn’t clear if the $129,114 debt to the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas was business-related.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Castro Valley Senior Home's Chaotic Closure Mirrored Similar Problem Months Earlier (by Matt O'Brien, Paul Rosynsky and Chris De Benedetti, Bay Area Newsgroup)

Closure of Residential Care Facility Bungled (by Carolyn Jones and Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle)

Castro Valley Care Home Had History of Alleged Violations (by Carolyn Jones and Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle)

Castro Valley Care Home Patients Abandoned (by John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle)

Elderly Patients Abandoned at “Deplorable” Nursing Home Closed by California Officials (by Deborah Hastings, New York Daily News)

Future Uncertain for Modesto Elderly Care Facility (by Ken Carlson, Merced Sun-Star)

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