(The Center Square) – Four New York nursing home owners and operators are accused of “repeated and persistent fraud,” harmful neglect and mismanagement of more than $83 million of taxpayer funds in litigation filed by the state.
In the lawsuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James asserts that nursing homes, owned and operated by Centers for Care LLC, under the business name Centers Health Care, neglected residents resulting in “harm” and “humiliation.”
The complaint says residents “were forced to sit for hours in their own urine and feces, suffered from severe dehydration, malnutrition, and increased risk of death.” James’ office further says some residents developed infections and sepsis from untreated bed sores and insufficient wound care and “sustained life-changing injuries from falls, and died.”
James’ office and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit say the owners and operators of the nursing facilities “converted more than $83 million in Medicaid and Medicare funds” in an effort to “enrich themselves, their families, and business associates.”
The suit says the owners and operators misappropriated the funds “through an elaborate network of related companies” using “collusive” and “fraudulent transactions” – while claiming the funds were being diverted from providing adequate staffing and necessary resident care.
“Nursing homes are meant to be safe spaces where the most vulnerable members of our community receive the care and dignity they deserve,” said James. “Instead, the owners of Centers Health Care allegedly used these four nursing homes – and the vulnerable New Yorkers who lived there – to extract millions of dollars for their personal use, leading to elderly residents and those with disabilities suffering unconscionable pain, neglect, degradation, and even death.”
Centers Health Care spokesman Jeff Jacomowitz released a statement to The Center Square defending the health care provider, vowing to fight the suit.
His statement said, “Centers Health Care prides itself on its commitment to patient care. Centers denies the New York attorney general’s allegations wholeheartedly and attempted to resolve this matter out of court. We will fight these spurious claims with the facts on our side. Beyond that, Centers Health Care will not comment on ongoing litigation.”
James’ office hopes to “stop further harm and suffering” by working to stop the nursing facilities from admitting new residents “until staffing meets appropriate standards, to implement a financial monitor and a health care monitor, and to disgorge any and all wrongfully received government funds.”
“Rather than honor their legal duty to residents to provide the highest possible quality of life, Centers leadership and their associates seized every opportunity to put personal profit over resident care,” said the attorney general.