We witness, hear about, and read about the poor conditions in America’s Nursing Homes. Many, if not most, facilities are intentionally under-staffed in order to maximize profit at the expense of taking care of the elderly and frail. The fact that these Nursing Homes are forced to pay thousands of dollars to satisfy civil jury verdicts for the avoidable death or injury of its residents may not be enough to get their corporate directors’ attention.
Why not criminally prosecute the bad Nursing Homes’ Administrators and Owners for their criminal decisions? That is exactly what is beginning to happen. Martha Bell, an administrator at Ronald Reagan Atrium Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Robinson, Pennsylvania, was recently sentenced to 5 years in prison and fine $50,000. What crime did Bell commit? Try defrauding Medicare and Medicaid out of more than $7 million and making false statements to hide the fraud between 1999 and 2003. How about accepting payments from Medicare and Medicaid then faking thousands of medical and financial records to conceal the failure to provide required care to the residents. Bell was even alleged to have diverted funds from the Nursing Home to nonprofit organizations she headed in order to supplement her salary which reached nearly $1 million between 1999 and 2002. Read the full story here.
Nursing Home owners in Montana are not fairing any better. Jesse Marcel, the former owner of Prairie Vista Manor in Big Sandy, Montana was sentenced this week to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay $185,000 in restitution to the state for stealing Medicaid money directed for patient care. Read the full story here.
The only way to ensure our family members receive the care they deserve (and pay for) is to hold the Nursing Homes’ corporate owners and Administrators accountable.