Morning Brief: Investigating California’s Nursing Homes, Reopening Schools, And Salsa Dancing Under The Stars
Good morning, L.A. It’s April 6.
Connected to at least 26 nursing homes across California, ReNew acts as an owner, operator, management company or administrator. At least 198 people have died from COVID-19 at ReNew facilities. And beginning in February 2017, regulators spent three years documenting 128 federal violations at ReNew nursing homes.
Aaron and Elly’s investigation into the company’s myriad wrongdoings draws on the findings of those regulators as well as state records, court filings and government databases. They also conducted dozens of interviews, including with former ReNew employees and people whose family members died in the company’s facilities.
Last year, state health officials took the extraordinary step of denying ReNew’s owner, Crystal Solorzano, licenses to take over nine existing nursing homes. Officials cited a lengthy list of serious violations at her facilities, and even concerns about Solorzano’s character. But due to what advocates call a “completely exploited” licensing process, ReNew Health nevertheless began operating those facilities, and is still doing so today .
“California has, in a sense, rolled out the red carpet for bad providers,” Tony Chicotel, an attorney with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, tells LAist. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a bad provider … You can get in the building, you can be a squatter, and they can’t get you out.”
My colleagues found that nursing homes are failing some of the most vulnerable Californians: The elderly, people with long-term illnesses, and those with mental health conditions.
It’s a distressing situation for Californians with family members in one of the state’s 1,200 licensed nursing homes, which house around 100,000 patients at any given time.
We explore those failures in our story. We also are partnering with other nonprofit newsrooms in California to hold the state’s Department of Public Health accountable, and this will not be the last story we do on this issue.
Please read and share our investigation, which is made possible by the support of our members.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.
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What Else You Need To Know Today
- Here’s how one LAUSD school and its community are preparing to reopen.
- The San Gabriel Mission is one of very few churches that has Masses in three languages: Spanish, Vietnamese and English.
- A predawn earthquake jolted some Angelenos awake just before 4:45 this morning.
- For the first time, all of the Screen Actors Guild’s lead and supporting actor/actress awards went to people of color.
- With this week’s campus reopenings, a majority of Los Angeles County school districts will have resumed in-person instruction for at least some students.
- Family and disability rights advocates decry the shooting of Isaias Cervantes, who is deaf and has autism, by an L.A. Sheriff's deputy.
- LAUSD officials are planning to open two dozen additional on-campus locations for family members of students to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Our investigation "STUCK: Inside California's Housing Crisis" has won an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award in the print/online categories.
- Next week, the California Restaurant Foundation will make grants available to small restaurants that took a hit during the pandemic.
- Fully vaccinated travelers arriving in L.A. County can skip the 10-day quarantine.
Before You Go … This Week’s Outdoor Pick: Salsa Under The Stars
Get ready to move (in a safe, socially distant manner). Lyrik Cruz leads upbeat Salsa classes all month long for dancers of all levels. The programs will be held at Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and COVID-19 protocol such as masks and social distancing will be in effect.
Or, you could: Attend Q&As with Oscar-nominated filmmakers and cast members. Laugh along with Lapkus & Tompkins. Learn how to thrive in a post-apocalyptic world. Check out Reservoir Dogs at the drive-in. Sample Nigerian dishes at a new downtown L.A. spot. And more.
Help Us Cover Your Community
- Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
- Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.
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