Records: No Action Taken on Care Center's Conditions

On four occasions, state analysts inspecting a Northern California assisted-care center abandoned by its owners found severely deteriorated conditions, yet took no action, records say.

The analysts visited Valley Springs Manor on Oct. 18, the day a manager told workers they would no longer be paid, and left residents to be cared for by an unpaid janitor and cook with no health care training, according to state documents obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle. More than a dozen patients were virtually abandoned after the state revoked the facility's license on Oct. 24, records said.

The analysts noted there was a food shortage, missing residents and no diapers on hand.

Yet none of the reports noted that the remaining patients were being cared for by the untrained staff members. State law requires caregivers to have 10 hours of training before tending to residents in assisted-care facilities.

No action was taken until the staffers called 911 and an Alameda County fire captain had the remaining residents evacuated to hospitals. California Gov. Jerry Brown said he is following developments in the Valley Springs case and would "take the appropriate action.''

The newspaper also found that the home's owner, Herminigilda Manuel, received California Department of Social Services approval to run the facility despite her history of putting patients in "imminent jeopardy'' at nursing homes she had owned previously.

Manuel had owned two nursing homes, which, unlike assisted-care homes, can provide medical care.

Federal officials had ordered Manuel to pay more than $800,000 after inspectors found numerous problems, including a practice of tying patients to their beds. Manuel's attorney, Orrin Grover, did not return an email from The Associated Press seeking comment, and his voice-mail box was full.

A number listed for Manuel who said in a court filing last year that she had spent "over 25 years in the management and operation of facilities caring for the elderly'' was disconnected.

Social services department spokesman Michael Weston said cross-checks of federal disciplinary actions are not currently done on a regular basis

In the meantime, at least one resident of the home is still missing: 64-year-old Edmund Bascom. ``I'm worried about him being missing. He's probably hungry. Cold. I worry the wrong people might do something to him,'' said Lori Pendleton, a former Valley Springs caregiver.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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