The owners of a Medford nursing facility have pleaded guilty to attempting to conceal the facts surrounding the death of a 72-year-old patient in 2012.
The patient died as a result of a respiratory therapist’s failure to attach her to the ventilator she needed in order to sleep safely. Several employees of the Medford Multicare Center for Living had previously been indicted following an investigation into the death of the Central Islip woman, with the facility ultimately pleading guilty to a single count of first-degree attempted falsification of business records.
Plea brings resolution to ongoing inquiry
The plea agreement that was finalized in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead also provides closure with regard to the criminal case as well as a civil case brought against the facility by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Pursuant to the deal, all defendants agreed to comply fully with the terms and conditions of the lawsuit settlement, though those details have not been made public, despite repeated requests. The Attorney General’s lawsuit accused the facility owners and managers of Medicaid fraud and a failure to provide appropriate care to the nursing home’s residents. Most of the 320 patients of the facility were Medicaid eligible.
The lawsuit argued that the owners of the facility received more than $280 million in Medicaid funding over the course of a decade and took $60 million for their own personal use. Because the defendants entered a guilty plea in the criminal matter concerning concealment of the details of a patient’s death, the Attorney General’s office agreed not to prosecute for crimes stemming from her death or the failure to report its occurrence. Three additional charges were also to be dropped against the facility.
Patient’s family laments treatment
According to the deceased patient’s daughter, even though three years have passed since her mother’s death, not a single person from the nursing facility has apologized for what happened. After driving four hours from her home in hopes of receiving some sort of acknowledgment from the nursing home operator of what occurred, she was disappointed to see not a single owner or board member from the facility, but only its legal counsel who did not speak to her at any point during or after the 15-minute proceeding.
Preventing nursing home abuse and neglect
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, roughly half of all nursing facilities in America are characterized by a lack of sufficient staffing to address patient needs. As a result, abuse and neglect situations often occur and sadly go unnoticed or unaddressed. Making matters worse is the fact that research has indicated that only 20% of such incidents are ever reported by those who have been victimized. Clearly, families, caregivers and others must remain on guard against circumstances or individuals who may place the health and safety of our seniors in jeopardy.
Those with loved ones living in residential nursing facilities need to know that the law does provide remedies for those who have been harmed by those entrusted with their care. If you have noticed some of the telltale signs of nursing home abuse, it is important to take swift action in order to hold the responsible parties accountable, whether they are the direct care providers, support staff or even facility management or owners.
The attorneys of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are prepared to help victims of nursing home abuse in Long Island and throughout New York. For a no-cost evaluation of the facts of your case, contact us at 1-800-469-7429.