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The California Attorney General announced a settlement with Mariner Health Care, Inc. who operated 19 skilled nursing facilities in California. The settlement, which is linked to the Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan of two Mariner entities in Chapter 11, will provide injunctive relief for a minimum of five years, monitoring by an independent monitor for a minimum of three years, payment of $2.25 million in costs, and penalties of up to $15.5 million dollars for any violations of the injunction or law.

The settlement resolves allegations filed by the Attorney General and the District Attorneys of Alameda, Los Angeles, Marin, and Santa Cruz counties, alleging that Mariner violated California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law by understaffing its facilities and subjecting its patients to negligent care while inflating their skilled nursing facilities advertised ratings to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  All 19 facilities, including their Alameda facility, were named in the settlement.

On April 8, 20t21, the Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA) and the four District Attorneys filed a civil complaint against the 19 skilled nursing facilities and their corporate management entities. The complaint sought injunctive relief and claimed Mariner Health understaffed facilities leading to resident harm, unsafely discharged residents from the facilities, and, falsified staffing numbers to CMS to advertise inflated ratings.

Understaffing allegedly left residents vulnerable and the inadequate care resulted in unnecessary amputations, the spread of diseases such as lice and pests among residents, and a high number of unreported sexual assault cases, among other issues.

On January 6, 2022 the Alameda County Superior Court granted a motion for a preliminary injunction requiring Mariner Health to comply with laws and regulations regarding the staffing of five of its facilities and with the discharges from 19 of its facilities in order to safeguard the safety and well-being of their residents.

Mariner also allegedly falsified staffing numbers to government regulators in an attempt to improve their published ratings, the complaint said

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit dug into the company’s inspection records which revealed a long list of issues at 10 Bay Area facilities operated by Mariner. According to records from the California Department of Public Health, inspectors found more than 170 deficiencies at those facilities and issued seven fines totaling nearly $20,000.

In two separate cases, residents left the building without supervision. One was hit by a car, and another was found eating rocks and dirt. In another case, a resident’s foot had to be amputated after inspectors say a wound wasn’t properly treated or monitored. Other deficiencies included dirty kitchens, medication errors, and other patient care issues, according to the records.

As part of the settlement, Mariner will be required to:

– – Reform and improve its practices and the services for residents in their California skilled nursing facilities.
– – Implement an independent monitor for no less than 3 years.
– – Pay $2.25 million in costs and up to $15.5 million in civil penalties.

The California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse protects Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who defraud the Medi-Cal program as well as those who commit elder abuse. These settlements are made possible only through the coordination and collaboration of governmental agencies, as well as the critical help from whistleblowers who report incidences of abuse or Medi-Cal fraud at

DMFEA receives 75% of its funding from HHS-OIG under a grant award totaling $87,038,485 for federal fiscal year 2024. The remaining 25% is funded by the State of California.