VENTURA FAMILY LAWYERS EXPOSE SACHA BARON COHEN AND SHOWTIME ON BEHALF OF DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS

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Who do we think we are?

We are a boutique California family law firm and mediation center dedicated to serving families and helping them preserve their hard earned wealth. Beneath our professional veneer you will find a team of humble servants of God striving to make a difference in everyday people’s lives. We strive to champion righteous causes, our decades of experience provide us with insight into how better to achieve family values and prosperity, and we write to expose the serious problems and potential solutions thereto regarding the fact major American institutions are making life miserable and often times deadly for American Veterans and senior citizens, two of America’s most vulnerable and valuable social classes.

That’s why on September 6 we wrote an article specifically targeting Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime when the non funny comedian disrespected disabled American vets in a segment of his failed Who is America? series on Showtime. We blasted the unfunny Brit who had disguised himself as a disabled American vet from Kentucky, fake wheelchair and all, while interviewing former Alaska governor and U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whom he stated he was a fan of.

The whole episode was actually a thinly veiled and distasteful political attack against the right. Cohen performed the interview wearing a necklace made of bullets and had a laptop covered in InfoWars stickers, says Breitbart in an August 27 article. Cohen’s disguise was described as being a caricature of a conservative middle-class Trump voter. He was asking Palin “absurd, racist, homophobic, and sexist questions” that were all meant to “mock Trump voters as a bunch of ignorant and offensive kooks,” the Breitbart article says.

Sarah Palin walked out of the interview when Cohen asked her whether Chelsea Clinton had been subject to a government-funded sex change.

Showtime pushed back later issuing a statement denying that the incident ever took place, saying, “Baron Cohen never presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. military to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during the booking process or during the filming of her interview, and contrary to her claims he did not appear in a wheelchair.”

VENTURA FAMILY LAWYERS WARN TO RESPECT OUR FLAG

We warned both Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime that this was no time to show contempt for America or to disrespect disabled American Veterans. We reminded the world that we represent American veterans and all the great things they stand for, and our U.S. government has literally failed to provide to these men and women the adequate housing and healthcare they require to deal with the plethora of serious physical and mental issues they have come home with while fighting for our country.

We asked if we might not benefit more by spending our energies rebuilding America instead of destroying the place American veterans stand and fought for; the only place most of us have ever called home. And while asking these important questions something pretty wonderful happened. It was like deja vu all over again. It was as if the world had gotten our message, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s disrespect of America’s veterans would disappear with a whimper and several lame excuses. At least that’s how we understood the August 27 New York Times article entitled, ‘Who Is America?’ Ends with O.J. Simpson. But Where Was Sarah Palin? that claimed Showtime never aired the Sarah Palin segment in Sacha Baron Cohen’s flagging series.

Which means someone was listening to our prayers. The New York Times article fails to mention the Ventura Family Law blog by name, but if they read us they would know that we don’t mess around when it comes to clowns like Showtime or Sasha Baron Cohen disrespecting America any more than former Senate candidate from Alabama Roy S. Moore does, as he has now followed through on his threat to sue Sacha Baron Cohen for a lot of money.

WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THAT?

The tide is turning as more people are speaking out on the righteous issues and taking a tougher stance against the dark forces than ever before, which is why the former member of the Alabama Supreme Court sued Sacha Baron Cohen. Roy S. Moore too had been duped by the unfunny comedian, who in a segment that aired on Showtime in July appeared as “Erran Morad,” an Israeli antiterrorism expert, who interviewed Moore.

During the interview Cohen brought out a device, which appeared to be a metal detector wand, but which he claimed was an Israeli invention that could detect pedophiles, says a September 5 article in The New York Times. When the device signaled that Mr. Moore could be a pedophile, he became angry and ended the interview.

Former Justice Moore really hadn’t found Cohen’s disrespectful shenanigans all that funny. To prove it he sued Cohen for more than $95 million in damages for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. Showtime, and CBS which owns Showtime, are named as defendants along with Cohen.

There was no mention whether former Judge Moore read our article in Ventura Family Law blog before filing his lawsuit.

 

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SENIOR CITIZENS SQUEEZED BY NURSING HOME PROFITABILITY AND CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRING MORE CARE FOR ELDERLY

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There’s no question it takes a special kind of person to provide compassionate care for the elderly. Bathing, feeding, medicating, attending to other daily needs of patients is a lot to ask for from the me now generation. Care giving for the elderly takes a lot of energy and thoughtful attention. There is tremendous value for this kind of work for the elderly in today’s society. But it doesn’t pay very well, which begs the question: Where does the position of caregiver for the elderly fit in the overall structure of today’s generation of aging baby boomers and broken millennials?

We’re not spending a lot to pay for difficult work like nursing care, that much has been established beyond doubt. Stressful work and low wages is a difficult combination to overcome during a questionably down-turning economy, but that, according to one group, is what we’re facing in our fight to protect the rights of our growing geriatric population.

They say our elderly citizens who require nursing care need qualified caretakers. Yet, it takes money to find someone who knows how to care for seniors and to be able to pay them, and the entire industry is scrambling for the almighty dollar that it takes to do so.

Latest available state data indicates CNAs are undervalued in the industry. Certified nursing assistants in California made an average of $13.96 per hour in 2016. That’s just a few dollars above the minimum wage and less than what some retailers pay sales clerks, who don’t need to spend the money or time getting licensed to work.

In a July 13, 2018 article for the Los Angeles Times, Ethan Millman describes how elderly healthcare matters in California have become hostage to this nursing home drama which is attributed to new state legislation that went into effect in July that puts even more “pressure on the state’s 1,000-plus nursing homes”, Millman writes, “which some in the industry say could be forced to turn away or even discharge patients as a result.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? OR IS THIS A BLUFF BY THOSE WHO RUN PRIVATE NURSING HOMES?

The new law tightened staffing requirements for direct caregivers and added new ones specifically for certified nursing assistants. Millman cites the new legislation as being championed by organized labor and patient advocates.

Under that scenario, we’d have the union representing nursing assistants, which pushed for the law, acknowledging that nursing homes face a challenge, but saying there is an overriding health-and-safety issue behind the new legislation. “There must be enough direct care staff to meet the quality care needs of nursing home residents and ensure a healthy workload for every caregiver,” Millman quotes an unnamed SEIU representative as saying.

The problem with this angle of course is that it places undue emphasis on the value of a CNA in this particular equation. The beginning of the statement is true — “There must be enough direct care staff to meet the quality care needs of nursing home residents,” period. Nobody of sane mind could conclude otherwise. We need better care for our seniors, and we must figure out how to pay for it. Whether every caregiver has a healthy workload or not is up to the caregiver’s skill set versus the demand for such a skill set in the everyday industry marketplace, and it’s a problem for the CNAs union to deal with, not state health care legislators. This aspect has nothing to do with the well being of the nursing home resident, whose need for quality care giving is being debased in the debate.

QUALITY OF CARE EQUALS QUALITY OF LIFE

As the new legislation reads, effective July 1, 2018, California Health and Safety Code section 1276.65 requires skilled nursing facilities, “except those skilled nursing facilities that are a distinct part of a general acute care facility or a state-owned hospital or developmental center,” to provide 3.5 hours of direct patient care each day, which is up from 3.2 hours. That’s 3.5 hours per day that the nursing facility caregiver has to directly care for a patient.

But what stresses out nursing home operators the most, and what seems to be the central theme of Millman’s writing, is California law’s first-ever requirement that “skilled nursing facilities shall have a minimum of 2.4 hours per patient day for certified nurse assistants.”

That means 2.4 hours of the 3.5 direct care hours per patient day must be filled by CNAs. And so the L.A. Times article is framed front and center around the nursing home gripe. Certified nursing assistants cost money. They have to be trained. Profits are shrinking. The big bad wolf is blowing down our door. What the article doesn’t tell us is that monies not spent toward better patient care get deposited into shareholders’ bank accounts, and that’s really the rub of this whole picture.

PRICE INFLATION HAS NOT HIT THE NURSING INDUSTRY

The Los Angeles Times article has framed this issue as a battle between the government enacting the law to provide more skilled health care to nursing home patients versus the burden it places on nursing homes to provide CNAs to fill the required hours.

The article portrays the nursing home industry as being in a quandary with the new legislation because, industry consensus says, it is difficult to get qualified CNAs to begin with, and now the requirement of 2.4 hours by a CNA is too tremendous a burden on the industry, especially in less populated rural counties. They say half of California’s counties are designated by the Public Health Department as having a CNA worker shortage.

The nursing home industry, through the Los Angeles Times article, sets up the CNAs as the tipping point of much broader issues. These are the men and women who work the front lines in home nursing, dealing hands-on with our wheelchair-bound seniors, those we pay privately and with tax dollars to give compassionate care to our elderly parents, friends, and relatives, yet price inflation has not hit those employed by the nursing home industry the way it has the rest of the economy, and we’re not getting our money’s worth. And who’s going to pay for it most?

QUALIFIED CNAS ARE SCARCE

When one studies what’s plaguing the home health care industry the areas for concern become obvious. Low wages and a high-stress working environment are not an attractive combination to offer a hungry, caring job seeker. When you add the prospective CNAs being required to take 100 hours of clinical training and 60 hours of classroom instruction, people are going to be looking for other types of employment.

They’re not going to take the time and expense to receive training through what amounts to be about 700 state-wide programs, many that are offered at community colleges, adult education programs, and for-profit schools, with most charging several hundred dollars to complete. Most people don’t have several hundred dollars or the time and inclination to make the effort to become a CNA. They can’t afford to.

Then you add the fact that nursing homes have just plain eliminated free in-house training to recruit workers basically because profits are down. No one has the money to pay anybody for anything. The nursing home industry cites tighter budgets. Those who want to become CNAs don’t have the money to go through the education and training to become CNAs. And senior citizens, their families, and the government don’t have enough money to be able to afford nursing home health care for seniors to enable them to spend the last months, weeks, or days of their lives in a compassionate and dignified manner.

THE NURSING HOME INDUSTRY CITES TIGHTER BUDGETS, BUT NEEDS TO LOOSEN PURSE STRINGS

This is the crux of the issue centering the problems cited by Millman. Nursing homes are owned by corporations owned by their shareholders. The list of corporations owning care facilities across America is short and those that do are locked in a dog-eat-dog battle to the death with each other and converging industries to suck in what dwindling profit margins there are left. Mergers and acquisitions are rampant in all areas of health care.

Who has time or resources for patients? The nursing home industry is making across the board cuts in staffing, training, and compassionate care for their senior residents. This is happening across the country as evidence mounts that those who own nursing homes should be loosening their purse strings and offering training and better care at their rural facilities, because their senior residents are suffering at an alarming rate as a direct result of their industry-wide, self-imposed budget cuts.

UNCLE SAM NEEDS TO LOOSEN HIS PURSESTRINGS AND COVER THE COSTS OF HEALTHY HEALTH CARE

Nursing homes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more upscale and receive private pay for income, with much of the rest coming from Medicare.

In California, the majority of nursing homes draw more than half their revenue from Medi-Cal, the state program that provides health services to low-income residents, which the industry complains doesn’t cover the cost of care.

This only exacerbates the shameful problem that pay isn’t high enough across the industry to provide for adequate and dignified care giving for our ailing senior citizens. Both private nursing home providers and government health agencies must be willing to budget more money into healthy health and nursing care for seniors. Private care facilities, many of which are run through giant real estate trusts or conglomerates, must find a way to operate their holdings to actually benefit those who seek their services. A new model in the way of doing business industry wide is mandatory, or they are simply going to go out of business. Nobody can afford their poor service.

CONCLUSION: CALIFORNIA SENIORS ARE TAKING A BRUTAL HIT

The proof is in the pudding. Just ask the California state auditor who singled out the California Department of Public Health for scathing criticism regarding skilled nursing facilities and their lack of performance of necessary “inspections or issued timely citations for substandard care.” They cite absent effective oversight and substandard quality of care, a deadly combination. This apparently means the reason the nursing home industry continues to fail our seniors is because the government isn’t doing its job by monitoring them adequately.

The California governmental agency responsible for nursing home operators rightfully took a hit for having allowed poor care to proliferate at nursing homes around the state, with the number of incidents that could cause serious injury having increased significantly in recent years. The California state audit concludes that the California Department of Public Health’s failures in oversight increase the risk that nursing facilities may not provide adequate care to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Safety and accountability problems at nursing homes across the United States are rampant, says the California State Auditor.

Federal inspection reports show that infection control is routinely ignored in nursing homes across America. To exacerbate matters, the Trump Administration has scaled back the use of penalties to punish nursing homes that put residents at risk of injury. This compounds the issue cited by the audit where in a vast majority of cases government investigators found problems that could severely harm patients, the public health department failed to cite or fine the facility involved. Who’s watching out for the seniors?

It is disturbingly clear that the public health department in California is not holding nursing homes accountable for what amounts to be crimes against the elderly. Neglect can be criminal. The government needs to regulate this industry. It also needs to make sure there are enough beds in nursing homes that can be attended to for 2.4 hours per patient day by a registered CNA, and 3.5 total hours of direct skilled attention each and every day. Government health agencies and the nursing and home care industry are going to have to be brought together in the most unlikely of marriages, or a large segment of our growing numbers of senior citizens is going to dwindle and suffer at a much greater rate than is necessary.