This December, the state attorney general of Maryland, Brian Frosh, filed a comprehensive lawsuit against Neiswanger Management Services (NMS), which runs multiple nursing home facilities in the state. NMS is charged with dumping frail, elderly residents into substandard sham residences to maximize their profit from tax-funded financial aid programs like Medicare.
The lawsuit alleges that over a thousand residents have been evicted from five NMS nursing home facilities with a 17 month period and placed in questionable living situations, such as hospital emergency rooms or homeless shelters. These former residents were kicked out regardless of their state of health.
Frosh notes in his lawsuit that NMS was aggressively pursuing residents who were eligible for Medicare benefits because they would receive the most money from the state for housing these individuals. Medicare provides up to 100 days of paid care for individuals who have just left the hospital. The Medicare payment during this period is much more lucrative than general Medicaid coverage. After 100 days, NMS would seek to relocate the residents in order to obtain more Medicare patients.
In 1,038 cases, NMS noted that the eviction from one of the five facilities was due to “failure to pay for his or her care, or to arrange for payment by Medicare, Medicaid or another third party payor.” In the 225 other nursing homes in the state, only a combined 510 eviction notices for lack of payment were given in the same 17 month period.
The case details the stories of multiple residents who were forced into unlicensed eldercare facilities after being evicted from NMS. Vonda Wagner, who suffered from late-stage cancer, weighed 85 pounds, and could not speak due to a tracheostomy tube, was driven away from an NMS facility after her 100 day Medicare period and taken to a Baltimore City rowhouse.
There, according to the complaint, her state-issued credit cards were taken from her, her prescribed medications were not administered, and she was only given ramen noodles to eat. After Wagner cancelled her debit card, she was allegedly physically abused by the rowhouse owner and removed to a Baltimore City homeless shelter.
Wagner is one of many patients whose medical condition was worsened through their poor treatment at NMS facilities. Attorney General Brian E. Frosh says, “They put hundreds of vulnerable patients at risk, and we think what they did was illegal.”
Mark Yost, NMS’ chief executive, refuted all claims put forth by the attorney general in a statement to the Washington Post, saying “NMS strongly denies any wrongdoing and disputes the entirety of the attorney general’s allegations in this matter. We intend to prove our case and will respond in the appropriate forum in due time.”
While there are many facilities that treat their residents with care and respect, not every nursing home lives up to a humane and appropriate standard of care. When they do not, legal action can help hold these facilities responsible for their misconduct. To schedule a consultation concerning elder abuse of any kind, call attorneys and Briggs Bedigian at (800) 529-6162, or contact them online today.
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