Beverly Healthcare Center in Stockton has received a "AA" citation, the most severe under state law, and an $80,000 fine from the state of California after an investigation by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) concluded that poor care of a 79-year-old resident during last year’s heat wave led to her death, CDPH Director Dr. Mark Horton announced today.
On July 22, 2006, the facility’s air conditioning unit malfunctioned during the heat wave. The resident was transferred to an acute care hospital with shortness of breath. She was in full cardiac arrest upon arrival and pronounced dead. The corner’s report cited “hyperthermia due to high environmental temperatures” as the cause of death.
CDHS determined that the facility failed to provide the resident with safe room temperatures and failed to follow its "Dangerous Temperature Level" emergency action plan, which addresses measures the facility should take during times of increased heat to ensure the health and safety of residents.
The facility also received two “A” citations – one for each resident who was placed in jeopardy of serious physical harm because of its failure to properly assess and meet their needs, including additional fluid during the heat wave. Each “A” citation carries a $20,000 fine.
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 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.