A putative class-action lawsuit has been filed against Brookdale Senior Living alleging its leaders have willfully understaffed facilities to boost profits. 

A group of elderly and disabled residents from nearly 56 Brookdale facilities are members of the proposed class claiming the Brentwood-based company “engaged in a scheme of understaffing and coverup through misrepresentations, misleading statements, omissions and concealment of material facts, and the inherently flawed and deceptive staffing practices” from April 2016 to now. 

The group accuses the company of limiting care levels through a staffing algorithm from its corporate headquarters rather than using an individualized approach from patient assessments to determine how many workers are needed to provide care at each facility. 

“As described by Brookdale, its Service Alignment Software consists of two main categories of data. First, it includes assumptions regarding the amount of time required to perform daily living services which are purportedly based on time studies Brookdale itself conducted; and the aggregate assess care needs of all residents. Second, the Service Alignment Software consists of algorithms and a source code "which takes the results of the time studies, as well as the assessed needs of the residents and other parameters and factors” to set the number of staffing hours on a daily basis,” the complaint reads, saying the use of the algorithm is faulty and flawed.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court and class certification has not yet been granted. The case has been referred to the magistrate judge for case management and Brookdale has not yet filed a response. In a comment to the Post, Brookdale vice president of communications Julie Davis said: 

"We were pleased with the court’s overall decision to enforce arbitration. We firmly believe this case is completely without merit and will continue to defend ourselves vigorously."

*This article has been updated with a comment from Brookdale and the current status of the lawsuit in district court

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post

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