The State of California is tightening its control over operations at the Sundial Palms — a troubled senior care facility in Modesto run by the same owners accused of allowing residents at their Castro Valley center, Valley Springs Manor, to go unmedicated, unsupervised and live in unsanitary conditions.
As of Tuesday in Modesto, things have changed.
“We have a presence at the facility currently,” said Michael Weston, spokesman for agency responsible for oversight of Sundial, the California Department of Social Services.
The constant monitor now in place in Modesto isn’t the only addition.
“We’ve brought in outside contractors to asses the residents and determine if there are adequate levels of care and supervision being provided,” said Weston.
All that is new, but the state started the long license revocation process for Sundial owners Hilda and Mary Manuel back in May.
The department is also pushing for a lifetime license ban for the Manuel’s.
“Obviously, with these providers, there’s a long history of non-compliance,” said Weston.
State filings point to insufficient food offerings, rough treatment of patients and broken equipment as some of the problems.
Recently, in a phone interview with FOX40, the brother of Sundial resident Ed Bailey shared his concerns about hearing resident buzzers go unanswered at the facility.
“I said how do you know someone’s not hurt … laying on the floor. They need help,” said Bailey, calling from his home in Las Vegas.
Davina Bratton is one of the dedicated staffers trying to work through the struggles.
“They just hired a cook on Thursday … No more caregivers though. They’re in the process, I guess, but they said fingerprints and background checks will take a week or two,” said Bratton.
State staff now in place at Sundial can opt for a temporary suspension order, or “TSO,” on operations at any time to protect residents if they feel the situation inside is dire.
That process is supposed to force a shut down in 72 hours with residents moved elsewhere – but it’s not fail-safe.
Those already in poor conditions inside Sundial’s sister facility in Castro Valley were compromised even more when a Thursday closure wasn’t properly enforced.
“Care staff had offered to stay on and provide care, and the decision to allow that was made in error,” said Weston as he pointed out that it was the department of social services that made that mistake and not the owners.
When asked if someone was being punished for that misstep, Weston said, “we’re reviewing it right now and determining the appropriate action to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
The department would not identify the employee involved or reveal their position.