LOS ANGELES – Calling it “disturbing and unlawful,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer continued his work to combat homeless patient dumping with a $450,000 settlement with a South Los Angeles nursing home.
The settlement resolved allegations from the City Attorney that since 2015, Avalon Villa Care Center, located at 12029 S. Avalon Boulevard, failed to properly discharge homeless patients, and failed to meet certain quality of care standards in caring for all of its residents.
“Patient dumping is inhumane and must be stopped,” said Feuer. "Leaving the most vulnerable patients to fend for themselves is unacceptable.”
Under terms of its settlement with the City Attorney, Avalon Villa Care Center has agreed to pay $450,000 to resolve the allegations against it. This amount includes $75,000 in civil penalties, as well as $325,000 to support the hiring and training of staff dedicated to the implementation of homeless discharge planning protocols and addressing quality of care issues. These new staff will be charged with ensuring optimal post-discharge care and placement for each homeless resident, and instituting policies that will ensure patients receive the highest quality of care.
The settlement also requires Avalon Villa Care Center pay $50,000 to directly pay for housing for those homeless patients who are unable to afford suitable residential placement at the time of discharge. Discharges of homeless residents will also be tracked, monitored and audited to ensure quality assurance and compliance.
Under the terms of the injunction, Avalon Villa Care Center must also comply with numerous conditions that will immediately improve the experiences of all its residents, including its homeless residents who are discharged from its facility, by:
Offering homeless residents the best available housing options at the time of discharge, and funding temporary housing for those who cannot afford it;
Inviting appropriate governmental agencies into the facility to assist homeless residents in securing all available post-discharge social services;
Ensuring that homeless residents who are transported to a residential placement center receive a warm hand-off, instead of being dropped off on the street;
Instituting comprehensive training programs for staff involved in discharge planning, including training on the unique and distinct issues homeless residents face upon discharge;
Identifying homeless residents at the time of admission and connecting those residents with appropriate government, private and non-profit agencies and services at the earliest possible time following admission;
Mandatory staff training on proper resident care including care in such areas as wound treatment, accurate record keeping, and the prevention of malnutrition and dehydration;
Quality of Care Training- Implementing policies and procedures that promote full compliance with state and federal regulations and statutes applicable to skilled nursing facilities that directly or indirectly affect quality of resident care;
Whistle Blower Protections- Establishing and maintaining a whistleblower program that allows employees, residents and other individuals to anonymously report suspected violations and mistreatment of residents and;
Nurse to patient ratio- Avalon must maintain a nurse staffing ratio of 3.2 hours per patient per day consistent with the requirements of the Health and Safety Code.
Avalon Villa Care Center has cooperated with the City Attorney’s Office throughout this process.
Feuer has made ending patient dumping a major priority of his administration having settled seven cases and securing nearly $4 million from defendant hospitals.
Patient dumping continues to be prohibited by City Ordinance throughout the City of Los Angeles including but not limited to the “Patient Safety Zone”, an area of Downtown Los Angeles bound by the Pasadena Freeway (I-110) to the North; the Harbor Freeway (I-110) to the West; the Los Angeles River to the east; and Florence Avenue to the South was established by the City Attorney’s Office.
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.