arden Valley Healthcare Center is being accused of failing to adequately staff the Missouri licensed nursing home to meet the needs of their residents.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in the Platte County Circuit Court, alleging the company methodically engaged in a process of keeping the highest occupancy rate possible while inadequately staffing the nursing home, which is located at 8575 N. Granby, Kansas City in Platte County.
One resident died on Oct. 1, 2018, after an alleged preventable fall. In short, the lawsuit claims Alan Cates’ death was a result of the nursing home putting profits before residents’ care. Cates’ surviving daughter, Doris Farage, obtained the legal counsel of Johnathan Steele.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants allegedly underfunded and understaffed the nursing home during Cates’s residency in 2018. As a direct result, Cates suffered severe pain, anxiety, mental distress, and death, states the suit.
Typically, skilled nursing homes obtain funds from income taxes that Americans pay through the Medicare program. Residents with a greater degree of illnesses require more care and services from nursing homes. That’s why skilled nursing homes receive Medicare dollars based on residents’ various degrees of illnesses.
“Nursing homes have a duty to staff their facilities based upon not only the number of residents residing in the facility but also the residents’ total acuity level,” wrote Steele.
Each resident’s acuity level is assessed and reflected in a “Resource Utilization Group” classification, dubbed “RUGs.” This information is used to figure out the amount of resources required to meet the needs of a resident. It also determines the amount of funding a nursing home will receive.
“When these Resource Utilization Group scores are combined for all residents in a nursing home facility, the nursing home knows exactly how many minutes of nursing and nursing aide care should be provided, on average, to meet the expected care needs of their residents, wrote Steele.
The lawsuit claims the staffing levels at Garden Valley were below certain guidelines derived from the RUG rates. Instead of retaining an adequate number of qualified staff members to handle the needs of all the residents at Garden Valley, the suit alleges the defendants and related parties “extracted considerable profits through the management and operation” of the facility.
Farage is seeking punitive damages against Garden Valley and other related parties.