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New York nursing home sued for fraud and negligence by state attorney general

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Owners of a nursing home in Western New York are said to have ‘woven a complicated web of fraud’ that resulted in patient neglect and caused the conditions that led to life-threatening issues exposed during the COVID pandemic -19, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Tuesday. a new trial.

The lawsuit, filed against the owners, operators and related companies of the Orleans Villages Health and Rehabilitation Center, said the defendants took advantage of the state’s Medicaid program to boost their personal benefits, rather than to Use these funds for the intended staffing purposes. and patient care.

“Every individual deserves to live out their golden years in comfort and dignity,” James said. “Yet the dismal failure of The Villages and its owners to uphold their duty under the law has caused residents inhumane treatment, neglect and harm.”

Between 2015 and 2021, The Villages received more than $86 million in Medicare and Medicaid payments for resident healthcare. The lawsuit said the owners ran 20% of them into separate entities they formed to boost their personal profits. The result was understaffing and poor quality of care, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, residents were forced to sit in their own urine and feces for hours; suffered from malnutrition and dehydration; developed sepsis, gangrene and other infections due to gaping bedsores and inadequate wound care; suffered medical toxicity and unexplained doping; and falls and other physical injuries. Some of these abuses, including other unmonitored or undocumented circumstances, have resulted in hospitalizations and deaths.

FILE PHOTO: New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a press conference following the arrival of former US President Donald Trump’s Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon, in New York, United States, on September 8, 2022.

Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

During the COVID-19 pandemic, management at The Villages attempted to keep positive cases secret and delayed or completely neglected to enforce proper protocols to quarantine infected residents, the lawsuit alleges, resulting in preventable deaths. Staff members were forced to report to work even when sick and were given little or no personal protective equipment.

The villages were so understaffed that employees cared for residents who tested both positive and negative for COVID-19 without following any quarantine protocols. As the pandemic progressed, COVID-19 positive employees, forced to report to work despite being ill, mixed with COVID-19 negative residents, and all residents mixed regardless of infection status. Employees were told that if their temperature check indicated they had a fever, they had to go outside for an hour and come back to take their temperature again.

The lawsuit sought to compel the owners to return all fraudulently received funds, appoint a receiver and financial controller to stop personal dealings and a health controller to improve care, and demand that The Villages stop admitting to new patients until further notice.

“The owners of The Villages have given themselves millions as they let our most vulnerable suffer,” James said in a statement Tuesday. “Today we are taking action to hold them accountable and ensure no one is ever treated this way again.”

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ABC News

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