St. Peters, MO, (Law Firm Newswire) November 19, 2014 - Extendicare, one of the largest nursing home chains in the country, has agreed to pay $38 million to resolve claims of inadequate care, unnecessary treatment and fraud. The claims were brought forward by the United States Justice Department after whistleblowers alerted investigators to systematic problems within the company.
Federal investigators found widespread malnutrition, infections, bed sores, fractures and other complications due to inadequate staffing practices at Extendicare facilities.
“We have to remember that there are real individuals and real families across the country who feel helpless when facing the nursing home industry,” said Charlie James, a Missouri attorney who handles nursing home neglect cases at James Law Group, LLC. James is not involved in the case. “The hope is that this settlement sends a strong message to other nursing homes who ignore and neglect the elderly to increase profits.”
The $28 million portion of the settlement, resolving claims of substandard care, is the largest ever quality-of-care settlement the United States has made with a nursing home.
The federal investigation that led to the case came as part of a new federal initiative called the Elder Justice Roadmap, which seeks to eliminate elder abuse and elder fraud nationwide.
Extendicare agreed to pay an additional $10 million in response to claims that the chain provided unnecessary treatments to elderly patients in order to bill and profit from Medicare reimbursements. The Justice Department pointed out that unnecessary rehabilitation therapy can fatigue and even harm elderly patients.
“Often, families think that falls, bedsores and chronic conditions are just part of the normal nursing home experience,” commented James, “and that idea makes it easy for nursing homes to tolerate and even encourage problems like low staffing and medically unnecessary therapies. This is a nationwide problem that has to stop.”
The cases in question are Lovvorn v. EHSI, case number 10-1580 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Gallick v. EHSI, case number 2:13cv-092 in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio.
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