The California Alliance for Retired Americans and Service Employees International Union Local 250 sued Ensign Group, Costa Mesa, Calif., alleging that the nursing home operator has failed to meet minimum state staffing requirements at 13 of its 26 California nursing homes. The lawsuit asks that Ensign increase staffing, be fined for not meeting minimum staffing levels and pay restitution to residents, although a specific amount was not requested. The groups alleged that Ensign saves $1 million a year by not meeting minimum staffing levels and said the company earned $10 million in profits in 2002. Company officials did not immediately return a phone call for comment. In the past, the SEIU has accused Ensign of poor quality of care in reports posted on Ensignwatch.com. On its Web site, Ensign has disputed some of the claims, saying many of the alleged violations occurred under previous ownership. The company operates 39 nursing homes overall. -- by Joseph Mantone
Calif. groups sue nursing home firm over staffing
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