Nursing Homes & Senior Living Facility Tragedies

Posted on July 16, 2021 in Personal Injury

The Arizona Board of Examiners of Nursing Care and Assisted Living Facility Managers (“the Board”) voted 5 to 1 to provide a convicted felon a license to run a senior living facility in Prescott, Arizona—Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation.  When COVID-19 surfaced, this licensee failed to respond appropriately and was cited for failing to follow CDC guidelines and for allowing sick employees to work, resulting in positive Covid-19 tests for 50 residents and the death of 15 residents.

According to the Arizona Republic, Larry Michael Rasmussen “had two felony convictions for fraud from 2007 and less than a year of experience working in anything related to health care.”  The Board had documentation of Rasmussen’s charges and convictions, and the Board relied on the fact he had fingerprint clearance from the Department of Public Safety.  Although Rassmussen was a convicted felon, he was still able to gain fingerprint clearance through the statute’s “Good Cause Exception.”  However, this good cause was not good enough, given Rassmussen’s actions resulted in the death of loved ones.

This story is one of many surrounding the care of the elderly, which is of the utmost importance to the Arizona legal community as their vulnerabilities warrant the most protection.  Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys recently faced a similar issue with the death of an 89-year-old woman in the care of a home care services company, whose employee had a criminal background.  Similar to the Board, the company relied on the employee’s fingerprint clearance and wholly overlooked the criminal history.  Gallagher & Kennedy received justice for the death of a loved one—the company changed their future hiring practices and policies.

Keep an eye on your loved ones in nursing homes and senior living facilities.  Should you find yourself with a loved one who failed to receive proper care, consult with a personal injury attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy, 602-530-8400.