A Missouri company that owned 11 nursing homes and it former CEO recently pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by charging the federal government for nursing home care that was so poor as to be almost non-existent. The company, American Healthcare Management, Inc., and its CEO, Robert Wachter, were reaping profits of at least $4 million by failing to provide needed care. The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis alleged the nursing homes were chronically under-staffed in order to keep labor costs low and increase profits. The under-staffing lead to the following incidents, among others:
· A 63 year old resident suffocated on a restraint designed to keep her in bed.
· A 68 year old resident died of a raging infection caused by untreated bed sores.
· Another elderly resident was beaten to death by an aide after he spit out his medicine, staining the aide’s shirt. The beating was subsequently covered up by the corporation which owned the nursing home.
Federal prosecutors recommended an 18 month prison sentence for the CEO along with a fine of $750,000. The CEO will be sentenced in February of 2007. Read the full newspaper report here.
Maybe nursing homes and their corporate owners will pay attention to this case and start providing the medical care and staff which our elderly deserve!