Pleasant Care Convalescent of Petaluma skilled nursing facility in Sonoma County has received a “AA” citation, the most severe under state law, and a $100,000 fine, the highest fine under state law, from the state of California after an investigation by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) concluded that poor care of a 76-year-old resident led to her death, CDPH Director Dr. Mark Horton announced today.
Records show that the resident required total assistance with daily living activities, including dental hygiene. The records did not reflect routine dental care.
On March 4, 2007, the resident was transferred to an acute care hospital at the request of a family member for care of a swelling on the right side of her neck that was described at the acute care hospital as an infection resulting from varying levels of decayed teeth. She died eight days later. The death certificate cited dental abscess and Staphylococcus aureus septicemia leading to cardiopulmonary arrest as the cause of death.
CDPH determined that the facility failed to assess the resident’s dental status and failed to provide routine dental services to ensure oral/dental health.
All nursing facilities in California are required to be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing health care facilities. Facilities are required to comply with these standards to ensure a minimal level of quality of care.
California has the statutory authority to impose fines against nursing facilities it licenses as a tool in its arsenal of enforcement remedies for poor care. The “AA” citation process is part of CDPH’s ongoing enforcement efforts in improving the quality of care provided to residents of the state’s approximately 1,400 skilled nursing facilities.
State citations that require a civil monetary penalty be imposed are categorized as Class B, A or AA. The associated fines range from $100 to $1,000 for Class B, $2,000 to 20,000 for Class A and $25,000 to $100,000 for Class AA. The citation class and amount of the fine depend upon the significance and severity of the substantiated violation, as prescribed and defined in California law. By providing nursing facilities it licenses with consequences for substantiated violations, CDPH strives to protect the health and safety of vulnerable individuals.