Claire Weiland, a receptionist at Livingston Hills Nursing Home in Columbia County, was arrested for stealing over $6,000 from the resident trust account at the nursing home where she worked. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that the exploitation of nursing home residents for personal gains will not be tolerated. Residents entrust their funds to the care of the staff of the home for safekeeping and are being abused in return.
A resident trust fund is an account held by all nursing homes in which residents funds are kept. Participation in the trust fund is not required but is made available upon request in order to help residents manage their money. All resident funds are placed into a single account, similar to that of bank, with records of each individual’s money; a small amount of cash is kept on-hand for resident’s daily use. Nursing homes and their staff are not permitted to use funds for personal gain or for any other matter, without the permission of the resident.
As a receptionist, Weiland was responsible for handling resident’s requests to have checks made out from the trust account. During the period of April 2013 to February 2014, Weiland was accused of having 24 checks for residents in her possession, not at the request of residents. In addition to possessing the checks, she also forged resident’s signatures on several checks and cashed them, for her own personal use. She was arrested on a sealed indictment and charged with twenty-four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Fourth Degree and seven counts of Petit Larceny. Weiland pleaded not guilty to the charges and was held on a $30,000 bond; the case is being handled by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Nursing home residents are guaranteed rights such as the right not to suffer verbal, physical, sexual, or mental abuse as well as abuse of their money or property. Although there are safeguards in place to protect residents, these rules are sometimes broken. If you believe that you are being abused in any way, report it to an administrator at the facility immediately. The nursing home is required to investigate and report all suspected violations and injuries of unknown origin within five days of the incident.
Residents are also expected to be treated with respect by all staff members; living in a nursing home does not mean that you have lost all of your rights and the ability to live your life to the fullest. The government provides that you are allowed to have control over your daily activities, healthcare, privacy, and money management. As a resident, all records pertaining to you are available for you review upon request, do not hesitate to ask questions and be involved in your care, it is your right.
If you feel you or a loved one has been abused in a nursing home, call the dedicated attorneys at Gallivan and Gallivan to discuss your potential case.