New York Attorney General Alleges Nursing Home Neglect and Fraud
New York Attorney General Leticia James filed a nursing home neglect lawsuit on June 28, 2023, against the owners and operators of four nursing homes. The lawsuit followed an investigation that concluded the owners of four New York nursing homes stole more than $83 million in Medicaid and Medicare funds. These funds allegedly did not go toward their intended purpose of resident care but instead served to enrich the owners. The suit alleged that the nursing homes’ neglect resulted in life-altering injuries and needless suffering for many residents.
The nursing homes cited in the lawsuit included the following facilities:
- Beth Abraham Center
- Buffalo Center
- Holliswood Center
- Martine Center
Attorney General James stated in a press release, “Rather than honor their legal duty to residents to provide the highest possible quality of life, [the nursing homes’] leadership and their associates seized every opportunity to put personal profit over resident care.” For instance, the suit alleges that the nursing homes paid fees to the nursing home owners’ “sham vendors” – as part of the owners’ efforts misappropriate Medicare and Medicaid funds.
The owners allegedly put their own profit margins ahead of the residents’ staffing needs. According to the suit, the nursing homes continued to allow new admissions even as the nursing home failed to meet existing nursing home residents’ needs. The suit further alleges that staffing needs make up the greatest expense for well-run nursing homes, and cutting staff may allow nursing homes to generate a greater profit.
Covid-19 created significant staffing problems for many nursing homes, but Attorney James’ investigation found the issues facing the nursing home existed well before the pandemic. The lawsuit alleges that respondents knew about the nursing homes’ failures because staff regularly reported problems to the facilities’ executives. The Department of Health also allegedly cited the nursing homes for poor quality care prior to the Attorney General’s investigation.
Alleged Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect of nursing home residents is a violation of New York Code Title 10, Part 81.
- The lawsuit alleges that residents of these nursing homes suffered from untreated bed sores or “pressure ulcers.” These nursing home bed sores allegedly led to infection and in at least one instance, a wrongful death.
- The suit also alleges that staff neglected to regularly change bandages and turn residents, which are necessary steps to manage bed sores.
- Residents were also allegedly left to sit in their own waste.
- The lawsuit cites multiple instances of resident dehydration. Dehydration is one of the most common signs of elder neglect.
- One resident was allegedly given the wrong diet and staff allegedly neglected to provide him with his prescribed medications.
Nursing Home Accidents
The lawsuit cited a long list of nursing home accidents. New York Code requires that nursing homes provide “adequate supervision to residents to prevent accidents.” Here are just a few of the allegations listed in the suit:
- Staff allegedly ignored a call bell, resulting in a resident getting up alone, falling, and breaking a femur. The resident allegedly had to lay on the floor for an hour waiting for help.
- The suit also alleged unexplained injuries from unreported falls. Nursing homes are required to report unexplained injuries promptly. In one instance, an unreported fall allegedly led to speech defects. Another patient allegedly required an emergency hip replacement following an unreported fall.
- One patient allegedly fell after allegedly being “abandoned on a toilet for hours.”
How Can I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
No one should have to endure the unsafe and unsanitary conditions described in the New York lawsuit. Nursing home residents and their loved ones should hold nursing homes accountable for neglect and unsafe living conditions. Report nursing home neglect to your local long-term care ombudsman, and consider reaching out to a nursing home abuse lawyer. Nursing homes can also be reported to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
If you believe you may have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call 877-600-0098.