Granite Creek Health & Rehabilitation Center is a for-profit nursing home facility in Prescott, Arizona. It is an affiliate of the national-level Ensign Group. Ensign Group is believed to have net earnings reaching $171 million during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, high revenues weren’t enough to keep Granite Creek’s administration from doing the right thing.
The Arizona Republic released a report detailing an investigation that revealed Granite Creek forced numerous employees to work after testing positive for COVID-19 in June of 2020. Federal nursing home data shows that in the ensuing months nearly 50 residents were infected with the virus and 15 later died from the disease. The Arizona Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers took immediate action following the report but was questioned on why the incident wasn’t addressed sooner.
Allen Imig, Executive Director of the Board Of Examiners Of Nursing Care Institution Administrators And Assisted Living Facility Managers in Phoenix, noted that the board would have acted upon the report’s findings had it received the information in the first place. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), acting through the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), failed to send the original report to the board. It’s still unknown why they weren’t given the information earlier, but State Rep. Diego Rodriguez commented that this could indicate a bigger issue on our hands, saying:
“This kind of failure is either systemic … or we need to remove the human factor where someone is operating out of their own discretion.”
However, CMS findings are even more troubling for Granite Creek. The ADHS nursing home survey report shows that Granite Creek went against CDC guidelines and doctors’ recommendations by allowing infected and potentially infected workers to provide care to residents—a direct failure in infection prevention and control protocols.
In addition, some workers were sick to the extent that they couldn’t breathe properly and were extremely weak. Even after visiting a doctor, some staffers were told they had to finish out their shift. The investigation also found that the facility tampered with employee health screening logs. Despite knowing they were ill-staffed, Granite Creek delayed efforts to declare a staffing emergency and access additional workers. Later, the ADHS fined Granite Creek $500 for its violations.
Coupled with board-driven internal investigations, Granite Creek faces an array of legal trouble. Our very own Attorneys Sean Phelan and Chris Jensen of Jensen Phelan Law Firm are seeking justice for five families, four of which have filed lawsuits for wrongful death. The family members of these residents who have been wronged feel strongly about holding all parties accountable. Sean and Chris say:
“The families do not feel like relying on the state will do justice here.”
What’s more, earlier investigations performed by the ADHS found that the state only fined five out of 64 facilities that violated infection-control protocols and that a month prior to the findings at Granite Creek, the facility was cited for improper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). In response, a growing number of families have voiced concerns, largely related to the state’s slow response and the facility’s failure to protection elderly and vulnerable residents from known risks caused when the administration forced employees to work with COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.
There is no justification for the wrongdoing at Granite Creek or the state’s delayed action. There can never be a reason to keep sick workers inside a facility filled with vulnerable residents who expect—and deserve—safety and high-quality care. The wrongful death attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm P.C. are on standby and ready to help you if the rights of an elderly member of your family have been violated during COVID-19.
If you have lost a loved one and suspect that nursing home abuse or neglect may have led to the wrongful death, Jensen Phelan Law Firm is currently representing several families throughout Prescott with their cases. We have over 40 years of experience litigating these types of cases and know how to best advocate on behalf of your family and loved one.
Speak to our Prescott nursing home abuse lawyers today to schedule a free consultation by calling (928) 910-7268 or filling out an online contact form.