California nursing home settles psychotropic medication case for $655,000

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A California nursing home will pay more than a half million dollars in a settlement over antipsychotics.

Ventura Convalescent Hospital's deal ends litigation filed in 2011, where families of residents said medication was being given without informed consent under the care of a skilled nursing facility physician. The agreement says $183,000 will go to former residents — each person will receive $600   — and $472,000 will go to attorneys, as well as an outside monitor watching the facility, according to the Ventura County Star.

While calls to the facility from McKnight's were not returned at press time, the settlement says the nursing home denies all wrongdoing. The lead plaintiff, Kathi Levine, was joined by 305 residents in her complaint, which received the support of the AARP.

The state's law says that, for each new resident, the SNF must “verify informed consent prior to the administration of psychotherapeutic drugs in the SNF, use of physical restraints in the SNF, or the prolonged use of a device in the SNF that may lead to the inability to regain use of a normal bodily function.” Provider groups have pushed for voluntary reduction of antipsychotics for SNF residents. 

Ventura Convalescent has 71 beds and above-average ratings, according to Nursing Home Compare. 

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