A former Napa care facility is being sued for negligent hiring and elder abuse following the death of one of its elderly patients.
Jeanne Roney, 91, a former patient of the Golden LivingCenter on Trancas Street, died on Jan. 17 just nine days after being diagnosed with scabies. Roney’s daughter and successor in interest, Tammy Cook, filed a lawsuit against the business, also naming management and staff, alleging that Roney died due to the facility’s negligence, which caused her to suffer multiple falls and injuries including scabies, a urinary tract infection and malnutrition.
“Unfortunately, it’s alleged that Golden Living Center Napa failed to provide sufficient staff in number or in training to properly care for Jeanne, resulting in several serious injuries and eventually her death,” said her attorney, Stephen Garcia of Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner, a national elder abuse law firm with California offices in Long Beach. “Golden Living Center charged top dollar for care and then failed to hire and retain sufficient and competent staff to provide required care to Jeanne in order to prevent further injury,” Garcia said.
Michelle Metzger, director of communications with Golden LivingCenters, said that the company does not comment on pending litigation.
The chain’s Golden LivingCenter in Napa was purchased Providence Group, Inc. on Dec. 16 and its name changed to Napa Post Acute. Although the new business provides the same services, representatives say that they are a completely different company and not associated with the earlier Golden LivingCenter ownership.
Roney, who had dementia and other medical conditions that caused her to need assistance with daily activities, was admitted into Golden LivingCenter in 2011 after having a stroke and then fracturing her leg, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the facility failed to provide Roney with IV antibiotic therapy, which she needed in order to prevent developing life-threatening infections, failing to timely intervene when she developed an infection, and failed to prevent worsening of the infection. Roney developed multiple urinary tract infections requiring care at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in 2015 and 2016 while staying at Golden LivingCenter, the suit alleges. This past winter, Roney developed another urinary tract infection and was eventually diagnosed as being dehydrated and septic.
“The urinary tract infection was so severe it could not be cured with oral antibiotics,” reads the suit, which asserts that Roney needed IV antibiotic therapy in order to fight the infection. When the therapy wasn’t provided to her, Roney was transferred back to Queen of the Valley on Jan. 8. According to the suit, Roney was diagnosed with scabies so severe that the hospital contacted the California Department of Public Health to make a complaint.
The suit asserts that the conduct of four employees at Golden LivingCenter contributed to Roney’s injuries. One of the named employees, Ronald Mesia Moralde of Vallejo, was caught with stolen medication taken from Golden LivingCenter last spring.
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Moralde pleaded no contest to first degree burglary on Aug. 18. Drug charges and misdemeanor crimes against an elder adult were dropped. He was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation on Sept. 22 in Napa County Superior Court.
Other employees listed in the lawsuit are Michael Cataldo, Shawn Amirhoushmand, and Maribel Domantay. Cataldo is listed as the facility’s administrator and Domantay is listed as the director of nursing, according to California’s Health Facilities Consumer Information System, a website that provides access to information about California’s licensed health facilities.
The suit alleges that the facility knew they were understaffed and employees were insufficiently trained, which led to the inevitable withholding of medical and custodial services to residents.
The lawsuit says that the management of Golden LivingCenter did this on purpose in order to make money. “Through a plot devised and executed by the facility … the facility retains as many as possible for their purpose of receiving payment for supposed ‘Inpatient Skilled Nursing Care,’ ‘Physical Therapy,’ ‘Occupational Therapy,’ and other services which are offered but are, in reality, non-existent or subpar at best,” it said.
The 120-bed facility was fined $18,720 on March 23, according to Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare, the official U.S. government site for Medicare. The facility, which is under the legal business name of Beverly Health and Rehabilitation Services, Inc., was given one out of five stars and an overall rating score of “much below average” based on health inspection, staffing and quality measures.
Golden LivingCenter has received 85 complaints in the last five years, according to California’s Health Facilities Consumer Information System. The facility also had four self-reported incidents, which included issues with resident safety and residents not being treated with dignity or respect.
Stephen Garcia filed another lawsuit against Golden LivingCenter last year on behalf of another patient, Joann Travella, who is suing the facility for elder abuse as well as negligent hiring and supervision.
Travella’s case is scheduled for case management on July 11 in Napa County Superior Court. Roney’s case is scheduled for Aug. 1.