Five people have sued Creekside Health Care Center in San Pablo and its parent corporation, Mariner Health Care, alleging that patients in the facility are subjected to abusive conditions because of inadequate staffing levels.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by San Francisco law firm Stebner & Associates, alleges that Creekside residents are regularly left unattended for long periods, often in soiled garments, are overmedicated and develop preventable bed sores because of poor care.
The suit also alleges that inadequate staffing and security allowed a man visiting the facility to sexually assault four residents between January and May 2010.
Julio Mestre was arrested May 9, 2010, and later convicted of four counts of sexual battery on an institutionalized victim, according to the suit.
"During the assaults, residents screamed for help, sometimes for more than 30 minutes, but no one came," the lawsuit states.
"The reason for the lawsuit is to try to bring about change at this facility in a systemic way," attorney Kathryn Stebner said. "Our case includes small statutory damages, but the main focus is to force the owners of the facility to follow state and federal regulations."
Calls to Creekside on Thursday were not returned.
San Pablo police Chief Walt Schuld said his department received several calls for service at the facility in recent years but none associated with mistreatment of patients.
The score is an "average" rating, according to the department's website, and is based on health inspections, nursing home staffing and quality measures.
Stebner said there were no criminal complaints stemming from the allegations in the suit. Profit-making facilities with corporate ownership have a powerful incentive to save money by cutting staffing, which can put residents at risk, Stebner said.
"My goal is to sit down with the parent company to work this out," Stebner said. "If they agree to follow the law and have third-party monitoring, then the lawsuit will be over with."
Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, released a statement Thursday: "Obtaining a court injunction against a bad nursing home can be the most effective tool for improving the lives of residents. The lawsuit against Creekside is focused on ensuring that all of its current and future residents receive the decent treatment they need and deserve."
Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726. Follow him at Twitter.com/roberthrogers.