Crews didn't know Bay Area care facility was closed

  • Deacon Oscar Moore Jr. reads the notice on the front door of Valley Manor Residential Care center after trying to visit a relative inside on Sunday, October 27, 2013 in Castro Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/ San Francisco Chronicle, Brant Ward)

SAN LEANDRO — Federal investigators are working with Bay Area officials in the case of an assisted care facility where more than a dozen patients were left practically abandoned for days, Alameda County officials said.

Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the department is looking into possible elder abuse and is also planning to meet Thursday with a medical fraud investigator from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to see what role that agency could play in the ongoing probe.

County officials said that fire crews responded to emergency calls at the Valley Springs Manor care center in Castro Valley four times before finding out from unpaid workers on Saturday that it had had its license suspended and was closed.

"They were caring for some patients and there were some questions that came up and one of the staff members at that time pointed out to them the facility had been closed since Thursday," deputy fire chief Dave Rocha said. Rocha added that the workers showed the captain a closure sign posted on a door.

Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson has said the patients were being cared for by two unpaid staff members — a cook and a janitor — when deputies arrived. Despite the criticism on why the workers didn't notify authorities earlier that the care center was ordered closed, Nelson said two workers valiantly tried to take care of the workers for nearly three days.

"It wasn't completely terrible, but as a care home it is not what you would expect. We had some patients that certainly had not been cared for in a manner that you would expect in a care home, people that were soiled," Nelson said. "And the guys who were still working there didn't have the ability to take care of it. It just overwhelmed them."

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