By Khalida Sarwari
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Cupertino Healthcare & Wellness Center and more than a dozen other skilled nursing homes accused of deliberately running an understaffed business to make a bigger profit.
The 24-hour skilled nursing home and rehab facility on Voss Avenue is one of four Bay Area businesses named in the suit; the other three are in Hayward, Novato and San Rafael. All four, in addition to 11 others sued, are owned by Shlomo Rechnitz, who controls 60 skilled nursing facilities throughout the state, according to a recent press statement announcing the lawsuit.
The suit was filed in June on behalf of Robert Barbendel, a resident of Cupertino Healthcare & Wellness Center, in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Garcia, Artigliere & Medby and the Arns Law Firm. The 98-page complaint accuses Rechnitz and the facilities’ management of deliberately violating laws that protect nursing home residents and taking on new patients without disclosing they didn’t have the requisite staff to provide adequate care.
The alleged transgressions took place in the last three years, according to the suit, which includes a graph submitted to the Department of Public Health showing a discrepancy between the number of hours the facilities’ nurses worked and number of hours expected of them. The reported hours do not take into account state-mandated rest breaks, the suit alleges, which means that a nurse who was put down for an eight-hour shift, for example, in reality worked for seven hours and 40 minutes.
When reached for comment Friday, a manager at Cupertino Healthcare & Wellness Center hung up the phone.