ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: 'Patient dumping' lawsuit filed against San Jose care facility

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 News has learned exclusively that two San Jose residents have filed a class action lawsuit against Courtyard Care Center, a nursing facility. The suit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court claims they were victims of "patient dumping." One of the two patients, Karen Mou, says she was given only a week's notice when state law says she should have been given 30 days' notice. he believes the facility wanted her to leave so it could replace her with a patient from whom Courtyard Care could receive higher compensation. Mou was covered by Medi-Cal.

The other plaintiff, Anita Willis of San Jose, was briefly homeless when she was told to leave. Mou was able to return to her home, although she was unable to care for herself due to the extent of her injuries. She was struck by a car in Campbell in Jan. 2015 as she crossed the street, breaking multiples bones. She was confined to a wheelchair during her nearly three months at Courtyard Care Center after having heart surgery and rods implanted in both legs.

Courtyard Care Center is affiliated with a national chain, Sava Senior Care, headquartered in Georgia. The company provided this statement on behalf of Courtyard Care:

"We have not been made aware of any citations related to 'patient dumping' nor have received notice of a lawsuit involving the same. Courtyard continues to work diligently to provide quality care and services for all the residents..."

The California Department of Public Health, which oversees nursing care facilities, said there are no specific statutory definition for "patient dumping." However, it does investigate complaints of inappropriate care. Mou filed a complaint about her lack of 30 days' notice to leave Courtyard Care. A hearing officer in June 2015 affirmed that Courtyard should not have discharged Mou without due process. However, the agency does not impose penalties.

The attorney for Anita Willis and Karen Mou, Matthew Borden of the law firm Braun Hagen & Borden of San Francisco, claims that the nursing facility illegally and systematically discharges the poorest and neediest residents.

David Louie will have more on this story on ABC7 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
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