Skilled Healthcare Hit With $671 Million Verdict in Nursing Home Staffing Case

In a massive verdict, Skilled Healthcare, a <"">nursing home operator, has been mandated to pay over $671 million in a class-action lawsuit, wrote The Associated Press (AP). Skilled Healthcare was found to have neglected to provide appropriate staffing at is assisted-living locations, said the AP. The complaint involves the time from 2003 to 2009 and 32,000 patients at 22 facilities, said the AP.

The verdict was reached by a Humboldt County Tuesday; the civil trial began over seven months ago, noted the AP. The lawsuit alleged that Skilled Healthcare violated a California statute that calls for 3.2 nursing hours per each patient every day, said the AP.

Although punitive damages will be decided next week, Skilled Healthcare confirmed that $613 million were mandated in statutory damages and $58 million in damages for restitution, according to the AP.

Skilled Healthcare Chairman and CEO Boyd Hendrickson issued a statement in which he said that the firm was “deeply disappointed” in the verdict and feels its facilities are correctly staffed, reported the AP. “We strongly disagree with the outcome of this legal matter, and we intend to vigorously challenge it,” he said, quoted the AP.

An injunction could be issued ordering Skilled Healthcare to maintain compliance with legal staffing levels; that decision is not immediately expected, said the AP. Skilled Healthcare, said the AP, employs about 14,000 staff, operates in seven states, and is one of this country’s largest nursing home chains with 78 facilities.

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