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Brius Healthcare Nursing Home Sample Verdicts & Lawsuits
Brius Healthcare at a Glance
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Brius has been in the news frequently in recent years. It has established a reputation of being one of the worst chain of skilled nursing facilities in the country, based on the number of health deficiencies found in federal inspections. A 2014 story in the Sacramento Bee brought many of these safety deficiencies to light and resulted in renewed regulatory pressure on the chain. The news article detailed in a multi-part series some of the stories of the suffering that residents in homes endured.
The article also described how three of the chain's homes were decertified by the State of California. The state had decertified only six of its more than 1200 nursing facilities, and half of these were owned by Brius. According to the Sacramento Bee, Schlomo Rechnitz controls one out of every 14 nursing beds in the entire state.
Brius Healthcare: What Does the Company Have to Hide?
The company is legendary for being secretive about nearly everything related to its organization. The facilities are owned through various limited liability companies and there are many related party transactions between all of the entities. It is not uncommon for Brius to pay both rent and management fees for its long-term care facilities to other companies that are all owned by Rechnitz.
While the chain claims that it is losing money, the income of these facilities reflects large payments made to other Rechnitz-controlled entities for management services. Mr. Rechnitz had been in the news because he had purchased each of his employees a Powerball ticket and one falsely claimed that they had won. At the time, Rechnitz joked in a radio interview that the $1.5 billion prizes were half a year’s income for him.
There have been numerous media reports of resident deaths at facilities owned by Brius Healthcare Services. In addition, there have also been reports that the corporate chain has accepted a large number of mentally ill patients to its facilities because those patients result in a higher reimbursement rate from Medicare and Medicaid. One of these residents committed suicide by pulling the pin on a fire extinguisher and discharging the contents down his throat. This resulted in the indictment of both the skilled nursing facility where he resided and the home’s administrator.
Restrictive Licensing after Problems
The chain has been barred by California from obtaining new licenses to operate nursing facilities due to its troubled compliance history. However, it has been allowed to operate these homes on interim licenses. The company has taken over other facilities in bankruptcy court over the objections of the state. However, The behemoth continues to operate these facilities, even without a permanent license.
The facility controls most of the nursing beds in Humboldt County. The for-profit chain has threatened to close its facilities there because it claimed to have not been profitable. This nursing chain has been trying to get a higher rate of reimbursement for these facilities. The chain has a checked track record in the county with five wrongful death lawsuits filed in a 15-month period.
Legal Claims Against Brius Nursing Homes for Patient Injury & DeathThe chain has faced a growing number of legal cases in recent years. Some of these have been from private individuals alleging wrongful death. Others have been brought either by the government or whistleblowers alleging some sort of misconduct. Brius has a complicated corporate structure in order to shield itself from legal liability to the maximum extent possible.
The lawsuits against Brius are in the following categories:
- Pressure Ulcers
- Patient Dumping
- Understaffing the facilities
2016 – Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Filed – The families of two separate residents living in Brius facilities in Humboldt County filed suits against Brius eight months apart. Each of the residents died from pressure ulcers that rapidly grew worse. The cases allege that the facilities did not take the proper measures to diagnose and treat the pressure ulcers. One case claimed that the resident’s pressure ulcer was so bad that one could put their fist in it. This pressure ulcer degenerated and worsened over a period of three months. The other case claimed that the deceased resident was never bathed while at the home and that a nurse did not document the resident’s pressure ulcer. Both cases allege that the proper diagnosis and treatment would have prevented these pressure ulcers from growing worse.
2017 – Settlement – Brius had been hit with several wrongful death lawsuits in Humboldt County, a place where it has a questionable track record. The resident was a 65-year old blind man who was residing at a Brius facility for two and a half years. The resident had multiple medical and psychiatric issues including bipolar disorder and anxiety. While at the nursing home, the elderly resident lacked the ability to give himself his medications. After 30 months at the facility, he was told that he could no longer live there. The resident was taken to a hotel and dropped off there without any of his medications. He was given macaroni and cheese and a half-gallon of milk and left to fend for himself. Three days later he was found unresponsive and he died the following days. The suit was filed on behalf of the resident’s sister and terms were confidential.
2017 – Neglect Lawsuit Filed – An 85-year old woman died after surgery to remove a fecal buildup so large that it was as large as a uterus in late-term pregnancy. Her family sued Brius rehabilitation center for wrongful death. By the time that the elderly woman finally had surgery to remove the fecal impaction, surgeons removed nearly four liters of feces and even more had spilled into her abdominal cavity. Even though the resident had been prescribed laxatives, the lawsuit alleged that there had not been given to the resident in the two months prior to her death. The lawsuit alleged that Brius was not sufficiently staffing the facility. Brius routinely claims that it lacks the money to do so, notwithstanding the fact that its facilities are making large payments to other Brius controlled entities.
2017 – Lawsuit Filed – There is a large class-action lawsuit pending against 55 Brius nursing homes. The suit claims that the chain does not adequately staff its nursing homes, resulting in a substandard level of care at the facility. The plaintiffs allege that they were misled by Brius during their application process to the homes. They allege that Brius took steps to cover-up its long history of regulatory violations and assured the applicants that the homes were adequately staffed. This is one of a number of class-action lawsuits against Brius for similar facts. Brius is accused of keeping staffing levels dangerously low to inflate profits.
2017 – Settlement ($6.9 million) with the federal government – There was a whistleblower lawsuit that claimed that Brius paid kickbacks to receive more Medicare patients. Brius wanted these patients due to a higher rate of reimbursement. The lawsuit also claimed that Brius filed false claims for Medicare reimbursement. The chain entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that conceded that the chain’s employees did commit these acts, but it was without the knowledge of Brius.
Concerned About a Loved One at a Brius Nursing Home?
A lawsuit against Brius required skilled counsel with experience in going after nursing homes of its ilk. This is in part due to the corporate veil surrounding Brius that needs to be pierced in order for the company to be held liable for its actions. The attorneys at the NHLC have years of experience in suits of this type. Call them today at (800) 926-7565 to find out how they can put their experience to work for you. Our nursing home abuse attorneys have seen and dealt with all of the issues described above.