New HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, in Role as California AG, Targets Tennessee-Based Brookdale Senior Living with Lawsuit

 

Outgoing California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — now the new U.S. Health and Human Services secretary — this week filed a lawsuit against the Brentwood-based Brookdale Senior Living, which Becerra described as “the nation’s largest senior living operator.”

This, according to a press release that Becerra and his staff published on his website.

Becerra said the lawsuit concerns Brookdale’s 10 California skilled nursing facilities and alleges that Brookdale ignored laws that protect patients’ safety when they are discharged from a facility.

“The lawsuit also alleges that Brookdale gave false information to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), information which CMS uses to award ‘star ratings’ to skilled nursing facilities so that consumers can choose a quality facility. By lying to CMS, Brookdale fraudulently increased its star rating in several categories to attract prospective patients and their families,” the press release said.

Brookdale spokesman Andrew Young told The Tennessee Star Thursday that he and other company officials “are aware of this lawsuit filed Monday by the State of California against Brookdale as well as similar lawsuits filed or threatened against other skilled nursing providers.”

“We categorically deny that Brookdale engaged in intentional or fraudulent conduct. We are disappointed in the allegations against the skilled nursing industry,” Young said.

“Publicizing unproven allegations is reckless and undermines the public’s confidence in a service necessary to the care of elderly individuals, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Becerra’s lawsuit also alleged that Brookdale failed to properly notify its patients and families of transfers and discharges. The lawsuit also alleged that Brookdale misrepresented the quality of its care to the public by reporting false information to CMS.

As The Star reported last week, Republicans slammed Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery for supporting Becerra, who was U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as Health and Human Services secretary.

Becerra tweeted Thursday that members of the U.S. Senate had confirmed him to that post.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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