Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation Center and its parent company Pinnacle Services Inc. have finally accepted responsibility and settled for $300,000 with the family of Edna Marie Bunting who died two months after being admitted to the nursing home. Bunting developed painful and disgusting pressure injuries when she was not turned and re-positioned enough to offload the pressure to her skin. Proper offloading prevents the vast majority of pressure injuries.
In a lawsuit filed in January 2018, attorney Jeffrey J. Downey wrote that Evergreen staff “recklessly disregarded” Bunting’s safety by knowingly under-staffing the facility based on the foreseeable needs of the residents.
The state Department of Health in 2016 cited the facility for several violations including failing to prevent and properly treat bed sores.
Downey said last week that nursing home patients are at greater risk under the Trump administration because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has underfunded state health departments, including Virginia’s, and decreased enforcement.
In addition to reducing fines, Downey said the Department of Justice has reduced prosecutions of nursing homes for Medicare fraud.
“The combined effect of those two regulatory changes has basically given nursing homes, in a lot of ways, a green light to go back to their practices of understaffing for profit,” he said.
Attorney Robert J. Zelnick, who represented Evergreen, didn’t return a call last week.