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State Attempts To Shut Down Care Facilities After Seniors' Deaths

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — California regulators are cracking down on two assisted living homes after seniors were left alone in the sun and later died.

The two incidents took place just months apart last year at facilities in Roseville and in Chico. Now, the state is taking legal action to get their licenses revoked.

The state says staff at Meadow Oaks assisted living facility of Roseville on Oak Ridge Drive, failed to provide proper care and supervision that ultimately led to Gene Roger's death. The staff worker mentioned in their complaint has a number of warrants out for her arrest, raising questions about the facility's hiring practices.

Eighty-three-year-old Gene Rogers was a Marine who fought in Korea. He later went on to coach youth football and raised three boys during his 60 years of marriage. On June 30, 2018, he became gravely ill.

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"The hospital called and said he was almost dead when he arrived," said his son Jeff.

Jeff said his father was rushed to the hospital while in the care of nurses and staff at Meadow Oaks.

"He was unconscious, they had to bag him with a cooling bag, his skin temperature was 103 something," he said.

Gene was in a wheelchair and had dementia. The staff at the time told his family that he had wandered outside in the blazing sun, and staff later found him unresponsive. An explanation Jeffs family did not accept.

"They cooked him to death, they put him out there, a person in his 80's who's not supposed to have severe heat exposure," said Jeff.

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According to a complaint filed by the CA Department of Social Services, Rogers was left, "unattended for a prolonged period of time outside in the sun and heat. This resulted in the client suffering dehydration and heatstroke and ultimately led to the client's death..." 

Carole Herman is the President of the Foundation Aiding the Elderly (FATE), a non-profit that protects the rights of the elderly.

"To leave that man on the patio is inexcusable and they should lose their license over this," said Herman.

Herman said her biggest concern is lack of enforcement at these facilities.

"To shut down a facility is not common, and it rarely happens, and so that just tells you how egregious this was," said Herman.

Gene's death came just two months after another patient died in Chico at a care home owned by the same group based in San Diego: Westmont Living.

Now California regulators are taking action to revoke the licenses of both facilities.

"I want justice for my father, and I want to prevent this from happening to anyone else," said Jeff.

Since the incidents, Meadow Oaks is now under new management.

A spokesperson for the new group released the following statement: "First, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Rogers. Integral Senior Living took over management of Meadow Oaks of Roseville on July 1, 2019. Because we were not involved with the community at the time of this unfortunate incident, we feel it would be inappropriate to comment on the circumstance," said Carrie DelaneyDivisional Vice President of Sales & Marketing.

CBS13 reached out to Westmont Living, based in La Jolla, but have not gotten a response. Lawyers for the company filed an answer with the state denying the allegations. They have requested a hearing. That date has not yet been set. 

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