One of the nation’s largest nursing home chains will pay $38 million to settle federal claims that the company inappropriately billed for physical therapy and provided poor care that was “effectively worthless,” the Department of Justice reported.
The agreement reached in October 2014 is the largest failure of care settlement with a nursing chain in DOJ history and involves the attorneys general in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
The feds filed charges against Milwaukee-based Extendicare Healthcare Services, the seventh-largest nursing home chain in the country with about 150 homes in 11 states. Allegations originated in an Ohio whistle-blower lawsuit that said the chain had several instances of nursing home abuse.
Federal authorities said the chain was guilty of under-staffing and under-training qualified nurses to care for the residents in 33 of the homes. They said it was guilty of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
“Our seniors rely on the Medicare and Medicaid programs to provide them with quality care, ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect when they are most vulnerable,” Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery said in a statement. “It is critically important that we confront nursing home operators who put their own economic gain ahead of the needs of their residents.”
The nursing chain “vehemently” denied any wrongdoing and settled the case to avoid extended litigation, The New York Times reported.