Articles Posted in Falsifying Records

As part of President Trump’s promise to roll-back federal regulations, the Trump administration has announced its intention to scrap a federal rule prohibiting nursing homes from requiring their residents to pursue legal claims through arbitration.

In the simplest terms, arbitration is a catch-all term for a dispute-resolution that, while legally binding, does not utilize the court system. The practice has exploded in popularity in recent decades – especially among larger corporations and nursing homes. These entities prefer arbitration because the costs are generally lower, the dispute resolution process moves much faster than the courts, and parties generally do not have a right to appeal thus providing both parties some finality to their dispwalking-out-300x225ute. Opponents of arbitration say the extra-judicial process favors corporate interests and curtails the rights of victims – from limiting discovery to removing the opportunity to appeal. Further, arbitration also removes the right for a person to have their case heard before a jury, and instead substitutes a so-called “neutral arbitrator.”
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With toothless regulations and ineffective oversight, many nursing homes are still failing the neediest patients. With its budget for overseeing nursing homes slashed in half, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has failed to identify failing nursing homes and keep them accountable. As a consequence, some nursing homes are choosing to accept the infrequent fines instead of changing their behavior.

helpCMS is responsible for overseeing all nursing homes that receive benefits from these federal entitlement programs. CMS routinely inspects nursing homes for any violations, if a violation is found, then CMS has two options. First, CMS can put the facility on “special focus” status – reserved for the worst offenders. A nursing home with this designation would be routinely inspected more often and, supposedly, would be punished more severely for any violations. Unfortunately, federal budget cuts have blunted the amount of nursing homes that can be put under “special focus.” Since 2012, the budget for inspecting facilities with this designation has dropped by half. Consequently, despite regulators identifying 435 facilities that warranted this designation, only 88 nursing homes were actually put on the watchlist. Further, once a Continue reading

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Channel Francis had been indicted for five felonies relating to allegations that she assumed the identities of three nursing home patients and illegally used their credit cards.

Schneiderman alleges that Francis obtained the information from residents of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York around September 2013. According to Schneiderman, Francis then added herself as an authorized user on credit cards that were owned by the residents and proceeded to purchase iPads, computers, televisions, and designer purses on the three victims’ credit cards – spending between $3,000 and $4,700 on each of the resident’s credit cards. After being tipped off by the victim’ relatives of the unauthorized charges, the New York City Police Department opened an investigation into the elder abuse matter.

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Long-Term Care Facilities are becoming a more lucrative business in America as the country’s CEO’s compensation continue their upward trend. In 2016, the average salary for CEO’s jumped to $465,875 according to a report by The Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service. Compared to an average salary of $441,604 in 2015, this represents a 5.4 percent increase in salaries.

This increase average CEO salary of “long-term care systems” is also in-line with large year-end bonuses. In 2015, the average bonus was a very comfortable $175,000. For 2016, this number was a relatively smaller (but substantial, nonetheless) amount of $92,730.

Pay grade, predictably, varied by the size of the hospice provider. For hospices with less than $100 million in annual revenue, the average CEO’s compensation was almost $370,000. For larger providers, with annual revenues over $1 billion, the average CEO compensation jumped to $823,000.

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Channel Francis had been indicted for five felonies relating to allegations that she assumed the identities of three nursing home patients and illegally used their credit cards.

Schneiderman charges that Francis obtained the information from residents of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York around September 2013. According to Schneiderman, Francis then added herself as an authorized user on credit cards that were owned by the residents and proceeded to purchase iPads, computers, televisions, and designer purses on the three victims’ credit cards – spending between $3,000 and $4,700 on each of the resident’s credit cards. After being tipped off by the victim’ relatives of the unauthorized charges, the New York City Police Department opened an investigation into the matter.

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Samantha Grover, a Certified Nurse Aid, pled guilty to a felony for punching an 87-year-old man in the face and pushing him onto the ground. On October 18, 2016, the judge sentenced Grover to weekends in jail for four months, followed by five years of probation. In addition, her nurse aide license has been revoked.

On October 17, 2015, Grover, then an employee at James Square Health and Rehabilitation Centre in Syracuse, New York hit a nursing home resident in the face and then pushed him – causing him to fall onto a piece of furniture. The elderly victim, whose name was not released, suffered from impingement syndrome of the right shoulder and a rotator cuff strain. Witnesses reported the attack to the James Square administration, who then notified the police. After working at the nursing home for four years, Grover’s employment was terminated.

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On October 18, 2016, six individuals were arrested in New York for  exploiting the financial vulnerability of nursing home residents; defendants are from Bronx, New York, Queens and Suffolk Counties. The five New York City defendants stole personal identity information from residents in order to secure cash or credit they were not entitled to; and the defendant from Suffolk County stole a necklace from a 95 year old female resident. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stated it is “reprehensible for caregivers to steal from defenseless residents in order to line their own pockets.” He continued to say his office will not tolerate financial exploitation and will vigilantly work to ensure nursing home resident’s personal and financial information is protected.  The six cases are summarized below:

  1. Diana English, Director of Social Services at Far Rockaway Nursing Home in Queens – Allegedly removed an elderly resident from the home and took him to his bank to withdraw money without the required medical clearance on June 24, 2015. The resident withdrew $500 from his account and gave it to the director; this occurred several times. The resident passed away the following month; English accessed his account with his PIN number and stole $1,200 from his account. The resident suffered from an anxiety disorder, physical issues due to hip replacement surgery, short and long term memory deficits , cognitive deficits and was unable to care for himself. She was arraigned in New York City Criminal Court – Queens County and is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.
  2. Sandra Rivera-Tapia, Director of Social Work at Holliswood Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Queens – Allegedly obtained a resident’s ATM card and PIN number and stole $7,418 from the account. The money was acquired by making several cash withdrawals from various ATM’s in her neighborhood and throughout New York City, as well as store purchases on the card. The resident suffered from schizoaffective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, sublaxation of the right hip, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and hypertension and was unable to care for himself. She was arraigned in New York City Criminal Court – Queens county and charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, and Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree.

A Nursing Home Aide in Cortland, NY has pleaded guilty to stealing a credit card from one of the patients under her care. Hope Pearson, a Certified Nurse Aide at the Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Kellogg Road in Cortland, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a felony. Pearson, and codefendant, Schenekqua Carter activated the resident’s credit/debit card and illegally charged over $5,000 on the card after checking it’s available balance. The women used the card at multiple locations including a casino and numerous different stores and ATM’s.courthouse

Pearson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 4, 2016. Carter entered a similar plea and was previously sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution. The state Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case. Nursing home residents are amongst our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity by those in charge of their care. For a certified nurse aide to steal from someone whose wellbeing is their primary responsibility is reprehensible. Nursing home professionals who seek to profit by stealing from defenseless residents will be held accountable,” said NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

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On January 4, 2016 Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced several guilty pleas in connection with  allegations against Mohawk Valley Health Care Center (MVNH) for falsifying business records and covering up nursing home resident abuse and neglect. In a separate civil settlement, MVNH Associates, LLC also agreed to pay a $1,000,000 fine to Medicaid for accepting overpayments from the program. The company will also be required to hire an independent monitor to implement reform and divest ownership of the two convicted defendants and a related investor.

The indictment included details of two incidents that occurred in May 2013 and the alleged cover up of those incidents. The first incident included a medication error that went unnoticed for several days and was then covered up.  The second incident involved a resident with dementia who took part in unlawful sexual conduct with another resident. MVNH’s guilty plea resolved these issues, which initially were part of a 45 count indictment. The plea involved admitting to adding an employee’s name to a staffing sheet who was not working. MVNH also had to pay a $5,000 fine. Two owners of the facility, a former administrator and director of nursing, pled guilty to separate charges. Continue reading

A Registered Nurse (RN) at St. Ann’s Community Home in Rochester, New York recently entered a plea of guilty in a criminal court case involving neglect of an elderly resident. RN Christine Deisenroth was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. AG Eric T. Schneiderman charged the nurse with Falsifying Business Records, a Class A Misdemeanor under the Penal Law.  Deisenroth failed to administer the medication Lovenox, a blood thinning medication, to a resident on numerous occasions.  Despite orders directing her to provide the medication she allegedly failed to do so, then covered up the failure by charting in the resident’s medical records the administration of the medication.

Charting is very important in the nursing home environment.  It provides a written account for the staff to refer when caring for a patient.  As an integral part of what is referred to as the “continuity of care”, the integrity of the chart allows for seamless transition between shifts when performed properly.

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