Nursing Home Abuse: Employee Arrested for Health Care Fraud

As nursing home abuse lawyers, we write about the many different forms of nursing home abuse in order to bring awareness to this serious issue. Most nursing home abuse cases are about abuse of power, whether that is through physical or mental terrorizing or stealing money from the patients or the facility.

Facility Administrator Received Money for False Transport Claims

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers employee arrested sugar land texasKelvin Washington, 47, who works as an administrator at a Sugar Land nursing home in Texas, was arrested on August 4, 2011 and is being charged with conspiracy, health care fraud and violations of the anti-kickback statute. He is being accused of creating a plan where he billed federal health care programs for ambulance transport and received payments totaling approximately $20,000 for referring the dialysis patients to a Houston ambulance transport service between 2003 and 2007. He allegedly conspired to have unknowing doctors sign transport prescriptions for patients who were never even admitted to the nursing home. Medicare and Medicaid were billed almost $1 million in false health care claims. The maximum penalties for a violation of the health care fraud statue in Texas is a maximum of 10 years in prison. The maximum sentence for a violation of the conspiracy statue or the anti-kickback statute is five years. Each of the 10 counts charged also carry a maximum $250,000 fine as punishment upon conviction.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If you have witnessed any questionable or abusive behavior in a nursing home, directed towards your loved one or even another resident, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Nursing Home Neglect Leads to Civil Complaint for Fraud

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a civil complaint this month alleging that Villaspring Health Care and Rehabilitation in Erlanger, Kentucky provided “worthless services” that resulted in the death of numerous residents. The complaint claims that Medicare and Medicaid were billed for services by the home that were so “inadequate that they were essentially worthless.” This is the first case of its kind in Kentucky, where the state is accusing a nursing home facility of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid for submitting bills for poor care. The nursing home neglect became so bad at the facility that the government took legal action.

new jersey philadelphia nursing home neglect lawyers Villaspring Health Care Rehabilitation complaintsAccording to the complaint, from 2004 to 2008, many of the facility’s residents suffered injuries, and five patients died during that time. The poor care in question involved failure to follow physicians orders, failure to treat wounds and bed sores, failure to update resident care plans, and failure to monitor the blood sugar levels of diabetic residents.

The home is also being accused of violating the federal False Claims Act, committing common law fraud, and unjust enrichment. If the home, their parent company Carespring Health Care Management, and its owner are found liable for the fraud, the defendants would be have to pay between $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim and would have to repay Medicare and Medicaid three times the amount of the government’s loss.

Parent Company Releases Statement Defending Facility

Carespring Health Care Management released a statement about the charges and alleged nursing home neglect, saying:

“This stems from an allegation that is 6 years old. The Kentucky Attorney General has already investigated this thoroughly and closed the case without bringing any charges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Kentucky Office of the Inspector General, have also looked into these allegations and were satisfied with and accepted Villaspring’s response. We do not feel that the government’s case has any merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously. The Federal Government is alleging we didn’t provide services that we did in fact provide. Villaspring has consistently provided high quality care to the Resident’s of Kenton County and looks forward to doing so in the future.”

Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved one is currently a resident of a nursing home or care facility and you are worried that the care they are receiving is negligent, abusive, or inadequate, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Elder Abuse in Vancouver: International Mail Scam Busted

new jersey philadelphia elder abuse lawyers international mail scam busted hernandez floridaOn June 11, 2011 Juan David Hernandez, 28, who is a Colombian citizen and a resident of Florida, was arrested in Vancouver for obstruction of justice after he gave a false name when he was pulled over for an illegal turn by a police officer. According to Vancouver Police Det. Rick Stewart, “When they looked inside the vehicle’s front seat, they saw bags and bags of mail.” The bags were full of letters from all over the world containing checks for $30. After an investigation, they discovered that Hernandez was guilty of elder abuse, scamming senior citizens by sending them letters asking for a small payment in order to be in the running to win a big cash prize.

The mail was being sent to four Vancouver area mailboxes and was bringing in about 200 letters a day. Hernandez was specifically targeting senior citizens. The over 5,000 victims were between the ages of 68 and 94, according to the police. According to Detective Stewart, this was the largest telemarketing or mail scam they have seen in the last seven years. Hernandez plead guilty to fraud over $5,000 and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Warning the Elderly About Mail Scams

These mail scam elder abuse cases happen more often then you would think and we want to remind the elderly to be more careful when sending information or money to mail out offers. Criminals are taking advantage of a very trusting, vulnerable part of our population. According to Stewart:

“These people are targeting our elderly. At best, I would say this is a systematic targeting of our elderly. At worst, it’s elder abuse… Once an elderly person answers one of these letters, they end up on every hit list going around the world. They’re not victimized once; they’re victimized several times.”

Elder Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved one is currently being taken advantage of financially, or they are a resident of a nursing home or care facility and you are worried that the care they are receiving is negligent, abusive, or inadequate, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Nursing Home Abuse Occurs as Fraud and Theft

Not all forms of elder and nursing home abuse are physical. Financial elder abuse is becoming more of a problem in this country. Nursing home employees and caregivers are taking advantage of the elderly and sometimes even stealing large amounts of money from them or putting themselves in charge of their finances. Banks will often issue signature stamps to their elderly and disabled customers who are not able to physically go to the bank. Some caregivers are using these stamps to steal thousands of dollars from their elderly patients.

Caregiver uses Signature Stamp to Steal from Elderly Woman

Liz Sanders is a Southern California woman who is fighting against financial elder abuse because her mother, Bette Isenberg, was taken advantage of by her caregiver. Before Bette died at the age of 82 last year, she was bedridden and required round-the-clock care. The woman charged with her care used a signature stamp to cash checks, empty her bank account, access her life insurance fund, and add herself to department store accounts by faxing over a letter that was signed with the signature stamp. Helen Wofford was convicted and sentenced to 32 months in prison. Liz sanders testified to the life-altering effects of Wofford’s actions:

“This $20 signature stamp cost my mother three-quarters of a million dollars and left her in financial ruin. This has been heartbreaking and I don’t want any other family to have to go through this.”

new jersey philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse lawyers occurs fraud theftMs. Sanders is now testifying in support of a bill authorized by Senator Fran Pavley that will enforce new regulations on the issuing of signature stamps. The bill would make it harder for caregivers with ill intentions to obtain the stamps by requiring that a bank employee witness and sign all requests for new signature stamps. Customers given the stamps will also be provided with information on the risks associated with them, in hopes that people will be more aware of the signs of theft or fraud, and also more careful of where the signature stamps are kept. The bill would also increase the punishment for financial elder abuse in California.

This is an excellent step in protecting the elderly from being taken advantage of in California. However, the rest of the country needs to be aware of this issue. Ordering signature stamps for your elderly loved ones can be risky and should be done with caution. Do not leave the stamp around where caregivers or others could potentially take possession of them. Check bank and credit card statements on a regular basis to make sure there are no mysterious charges, and report any suspicions that you may have.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If your loved one is being taken advantage of financially, or you believe the care they are recieving is abusive or negligent, you should contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, and (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Qui Tam: What Is It?

The term qui tam is actually an abbreviated form of the latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro seipse,” which means “he who sues for the king as for himself.” Whistleblower is another term used to describe the same type of claim. When an employee gets wind of their employer’s illegal business practices, they have the opportunity to file a qui tam claim against them, and are usually awarded a large portion of the settlement that the government receives.

Whistleblower vs. Qui Tam Claims – Is There a Difference?

new jersey philadelphia qui tam whistleblower lawyers explanationWhistleblower and qui tam claims do essentially the same thing; they allow employees to file lawsuits against their employers for fraud or other illegal practices. Many times, especially in the healthcare industry, companies engage in fraudulent advertising to increase popularity of a product. Pharmaceutical companies are largely guilty of committing this type of fraud. Creating false or untested uses for a certain drug, or offering physicians large amounts of money (kickbacks) to recommend and prescribe certain drugs is very much illegal, and equally as dangerous.

Fraudulent billing is another problem for health programs such as Medicare. It is estimated that close to 10% of all medicare charges are indeed fradulent. Commonly, this fraud occurs in the form of :

  • Billing multiple times for one service
  • Charging for treatment that was never performed
  • Charging for expensive equipment when cheaper equipment was purchased
  • Charging for services that are actually free

Qui Tam Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia

If you currently work for a company that you believe is defrauding it’s employees, customers, and/or government, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. The qui tam lawyers at the Mininno Law Office are specifically focused on earning significant compensation for whistelblowers who aim to end their associates illegal and potentially harmful business practices.

You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia. Let the Mininno Law Office team work hard to earn you the full an fair compensation you deserve.

Links Between MMR Vaccine and Autism Allegedly Fabricated

This medical malpractice post will discuss a report published this week by the British Medical Journal that denounces a 1998 study performed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. The study, printed by The Lancet, links Autism with the MMR vaccination, and has now been labeled as nothing more than an “elaborate fraud.”

Autism Study a Fraud?

new jersey philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers falsified report linking MMR vaccines with Autism Dr. Andrew Wakefield caused a significant decrease in MMR vaccinations since the publishing of his study in 1998 that claimed that the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccination was, in fact, causing “regressive autism“. Regressive autism is a form of the disorder that starts to develop after a child has displayed no symptoms, and has led, up until that point, a “normal” life.

Investigative reporter from the British Medical Journal, Brian Deer, analyzed for 6 years the results of Wakefield’s “study“, and found that Wakefield deliberately misrepresented facts and lied about the conditions of his subjects. The study was based on 12 children with autistic symptoms after they received the MMR vaccine. The study consistently lies about when symptoms developed, what those symptoms were, how they affected the child, and what they meant for their diagnosis. This blatent falsification of facts has led to a decline in MMR vaccines, and a rise in the contraction of Measles. In England, the Measles virus is now described as an endemic.

While Dr. Wakefield still believes in his study and it’s results, he hasn’t acted on offers to replicate his findings. The BMJ article says:

Instead, although now disgraced and stripped of his clinical and academic credentials, he continues to push his views. Meanwhile the damage to public health continues.

Medical Malpractice Lawyers in NJ and PA

Dr. Andrew Wakefield acted against his purpose as a doctor to heal and protect patients, and instead grossly misreported data to publish a false report. Why? One can only conculde that his motive was personal gain. Why lie about the effects of a sometimes life saving vaccination? Children likely have died after not being vaccinated for measles, mumps, or rubella, and for no reason.
The kind of negligence Dr. Wakefield acted with is irreprehensible. And while he did so outside of the operating or emergency room, other medical providers act with the same negligence inside the operating or emergency room.

If you or a loved one have been injured by medical malpractice or negligence, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let our team earn you the full and fair compensation you need a deserve.

Elder Abuse Takes the Form of Fraud and Theft

new jersey philadelphia elder abuse attorneys nursing home neglect lawyers theft fraudTypically, nursing home abuse is thought to be of a physical nature. Residents are left unturned in their beds, growing bedsores; they are manhandled and dropped out of wheelchairs or lifts; or they are over medicated to remain sedated. But often times, elder abuse takes the form of theft or fraud.

In one such elder abuse case, a 36 year old social worker, working with several elderly patients, did great harm to the bank account of an 89 year old woman. In ten months, that social worker stole upwards of $25,000 dollars from the woman. After that “tap ran dry,” she took another $9,000 from a different patient she had been seeing. Authorities claim the money was used for personal purchases; clothing, groceries, and the like.

In other related elder abuse cases, the same social worker was fraudulently cashing checks she had written to herself from a patient’s checkbook. She was also using the victim’s debit card. What happened when the checks ran out? She lied to the bank to obtain more, and continued to write them to herself.

Elder Abuse Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia

The social worker is currently being prosecuted, but it truly is ashame that she was able to go on committing these crimes for so long. It is imperative that we keep our eyes open to this kind of elder abuse, or else offenders will not be punished, and care will never improve.
If you or an elderly loved one have been abused in a nursing home or long term care facility, please contact the Mininno Law Office. Our NJ and PA elder abuse attorneys are here to answer all of your questions and help you present the best possible case.

No one should have to endure the kind of negligence and abuse that goes on in some of our nation’s nursing homes. Help bring an end to these trends of deplorable treatment, and call an NJ or PA elder abuse attorney today. Free consultations at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey and (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

New Regulations May Help Avert Nursing Home Abuse

United Press International recently reported that six states will be receiving government funding for programs they are to develop that will require criminal background checks for any applicant to a nursing home or long term care facility within the state.

National Background Check Program

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys new regulations may help avertingThe money will be distributed under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act, and the National Background Check Program will begin in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Missouri, and Rhode Island. Eleven additional states may be added to the program as early as November of this year.
The U.S. Government will spend 160 million dollars to administer mandatory criminal background checks in all 50 states.

These mandatory background checks will serve as a major weapon in the fight against nursing home abuse. Many times, employees at these facilities have histories of abusive behavior, theft, and fraud, multiple convictions of elder and nursing home abuse.
We should not have to entrust the care of our elderly loved ones to those who are soley interested in conning them out of their money, or who are not at all invested in the care they provide.

NJ and PA Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

If your loved one has suffered at the hands of an abusive and negligent nursing home staff, do not remain quiet. Contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys are experienced in earning recoveries for victims of negligence and abuse in nursing homes and long term care facilities.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Uncovered by Litigation

A report released by the American Association for Justice, titled “Standing up For Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans”, tells of how the Civil Justice System is the only weapon senior citizens and their families have in the fight against abusive and negligent care in nursing homes and long term care facilities.

A Nursing Home is a Business

new jersey philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys neglect uncovered litigationWe’ve talked before about how nursing homes are businesses; big businesses with corporate agendas and money hungry CEO’s. Today, these corporations are wide-eyed at the thought of an influx of baby boomers entering their facilities. This prospect of large profits has caused a major drop in the level of care provided to our elderly loved ones.

Approximately 1.5 million Americans are currently enrolled in a nursing home or long term care facility program. Unfortunately, a number of these residents will suffer, or already have suffered, from nursing home abuse and negligence.
Bedsores, chemical restraints, dehydration, malnourishment, physical and verbal abuse, co-resident violence, fraud, medical errors, and unsafe facility conditions, are all potential threats to your loved one’s health and well-being while a resident at a nursing home.

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Working to Reveal Abusive Facilities

Regulatory and legislative bodies have passed many laws protecting the rights of senior citizens, but it seems that our judicial system is the only system uncovering the many events of abuse and neglect. Without nursing home abuse attorneys, too many instances of subpar care would go untold, especially since nursing homes are sticking mandatory arbitration agreements in their huge packets of admission documents and failing to explain that those agreements remove resident rights to a jury trial.
American Association for Justice President, Gibson Vance, comments:

“Corporate nursing homes and insurance companies have continually chosen to put profits ahead of the well-being of our most vulnerable population. Where regulatory and legislative bodies have been unable to cope with this distressing rise of neglect and abuse of our elderly, the civil justice system has stepped into the breach.”

NJ and PA Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at the Mininno Law Office

The nursing home abuse attorneys at the Mininno Law Office are dedicated to eradicating the disturbing trends of abuse and negligence in our nation’s nursing homes.
If you or your loved one have suffered due to nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.

Let the team at the Mininno Law Office earn you the compensation you deserve.

Nursing Home Abuse and the State Ombudsman

nursing home abuse and beglect ombudsman in new jerseyBy definition, an ombudsman is a government official who hears and investigates complaints by private citizens against other officials or government agencies.

In the state of NJ, an ombudsman works on behalf of the elderly in nursing homes and long term care facilities through the The Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly.
This office accepts reports and complaints of nursing home abuse, negligence, inadequacy, theft, fraud, and other issues concerning the care residents receive in nursing homes and long term care facilities. The office invesitigates these reports of abuse and neglect from a neutral, third party stand-point, and takes the proper steps in the event that abuse is taking place.

I am a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse, What Should I Do?

If you or someone you know have been abused or neglected in a nursing home, the first thing you should do is contact the Elder Ombudsman’s Office. They will document the complaint, and take further steps to investigate it. Your next step is to contact a nursing home abuse attorney.

The NJ and PA nursing home abuse attorneys at the Mininno Law Office are dedicated to eradicating the disturbing trends of abuse and neglect in our nations nursing homes and long term care facilities.
Contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, and (215) 567-2380 in Philadephia.

New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly
To file a complaint:
Call 24-Hour Toll Free Hotline: 1-877-582-6995
Write: The Office of the Ombudsman
P.O. Box 852
Trenton, NJ 08625-0852
Fax: 609-943-3479

Pennsylvania Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Pennsylvania Department of Aging
555 Walnut Street, 5th floor
Harrisburg, Pa. 17101-1919
(717) 783-8975