LOS ANGELES – Continuing his efforts to protect Los Angeles’ most vulnerable patients, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has reached a $600,000 settlement with Lakeview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility in Westlake/MacArthur Park to resolve allegations that the facility improperly discharged homeless and mentally-impaired residents, and failed to meet quality of care standards as required by law.
"This settlement is another step in assuring all patients, especially those contending with homelessness or mental health issues, receive the safe and lawful care they deserve—including when they’re discharged," said Feuer.
Once the court signs off on the terms of the settlement agreement, Lakeview Terrace will be required to spend $150,000 to retain an Independent Monitor (Monitor), selected by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, to oversee its operations for a period of two years. The Monitor will have broad authority to ensure that Lakeview Terrace properly discharges patients and improves the quality of care the facility provides. The Monitor will report its findings to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, which will enable the City Attorney’s Office to take further action if the Monitor identifies new violations.
Under the settlement, Lakeview Terrace also must pay $200,000 in civil penalties and disperse $50,000 over a period of two years to cover housing costs for residents unable to afford suitable residential placement at the time of discharge. Any money not dispersed within this two-year period must be donated, in equal shares, to the Union Rescue Mission, Midnight Mission, and the Integrated Recovery Network.
Additionally, Lakeview Terrace will allocate $200,000 over a period of three years to hire, train, and support a Director of Resident Care & Compliance and related staff, who will oversee the implementation of discharge planning policies and protocols for homeless residents, quality of resident care compliance, and ensure optimal post-discharge care and placement for each homeless resident. These discharges will also be tracked, monitored, and audited to ensure quality assurance and compliance.
Finally, under the settlement, Lakeview Terrace must comply with a number of conditions that will immediately improve the experience of all of its residents, including its homeless and mentally-impaired residents. Lakeview Terrace, among other things, must:
Offer homeless residents the best housing options available at the time of their discharge from the facility, and fund temporary housing for those who cannot afford it;
Invite appropriate governmental agencies into the facility to assist homeless residents in securing all available post-discharge social services;
Institute comprehensive training programs for staff to ensure all residents are given proper medical care while at the facility, and that homeless residents are properly assessed and cared for when discharged from the facility;
Ensure that homeless residents who are transported from Lakeview Terrace to a residential placement center receive a “warm hand-off,” instead of being dropped off on the street;
Establish and maintain a whistleblower program that allows Lakeview Terrace employees, residents, and other individuals to anonymously report suspected violations and mistreatment of residents;
Ensure that each resident receives at least 3.5 hours of direct nursing care service hours per patient, per day, consistent with the requirements of the California Health and Safety Code; and
Comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations applicable to skilled nursing facilities.
Lakeview Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility has cooperated with the City Attorney’s Office throughout this investigation.
Feuer has made ending patient dumping a major priority of his administration, settling eight cases and securing more than $4.45 million from hospitals and skilled nursing facilities alleged to have been involved in unlawful patient discharges.
Patient dumping continues to be prohibited by City Ordinance throughout the City of Los Angeles.
Deputy Chief Will Rivera, Supervising Deputy City Attorney Christina Tusan, along with Deputy City Attorney Will Pirkey and Deputy City Attorney Gina Lee, handled the settlement of the case.
The Los Angeles City Attorney would like to thank Molly Davies of the WISE and Healthy Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for her assistance with this matter.