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Nursing Home Chain Asks New Mexico to Drop Staffing Lawsuit

May 28, 2015

A nursing home chain that was sued by New Mexico’s attorney general in December over low staffing levels requested on May 8 that a district court judge dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, originally filed in December 2014 by then New Mexico attorney general Gary King, alleged that inadequate staffing in nursing homes operated by Preferred Care Partners Management Group L.P. had created dangerous living conditions for residents.

The lawsuit combined statistical analysis of staffing hours with anecdotal evidence of poor quality or negligent care.

Preferred Care, however, argued in a statement that the statistical method used in the lawsuit “has never been used by the New Mexico Department of Health, adopted in any court or recognized in the healthcare community.”

It also alleged that the plaintiffs had ulterior motives for filing the suit, citing a December 2014 New York Times article about lawyers who reap “big paydays” by convincing state attorneys general to sue large companies.

The current New Mexico attorney general, Hector Balderas, denied such claims, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on May 20. “Bilking taxpayers for inadequate care and denying helpless and vulnerable residents basic services will not be tolerated,” Balderas told the paper through a spokesperson.

“Our office will continue to aggressively protect New Mexico’s taxpayers and our most vulnerable populations,” he continued.

— by Matthew Ozga

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