In many elder abuse cases, the nursing homes are accused of failing to provide the appropriate care to patients in need. This can lead to bed sores, serious infections, dehydration, and other serious conditions. A nursing home in Pennsylvania has settled a lawsuit for going too far in the other direction and providing unnecessary therapy.
$15.5 Million Settlement for Unnecessary Care
The U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to a settlement in the lawsuit against Guardian Elder Care Holdings Inc, and related companies. Guardian operates more than 50 long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania, with additional locations in other states. The nursing home company will pay $15,466,278 to settle the claims.
The False Claims Act provides for liability on individuals and companies who commit fraud against the federal government. The laws also allow for qui tam lawsuits, where a private citizen can file a lawsuit on behalf of the government and share in the recovery. In this case, the lawsuit was brought by Philippa Krauss and Julie White, whistleblowers who were formerly employed by the nursing home company.
According to the whistleblowers, Guardian Elder Care pressured rehab therapists to provide services without regard to clinical need. The company pressured therapists to provide care even when it was unnecessary or unwanted, in order to meet financial targets and maximize revenue.
Guardian Elder Care pressured its rehabilitation therapists to provide services to meet financial targets and maximize revenue, without regard to clinical need. For example, they alleged that certain patients suffered from dementia and did not need or want rehabilitation therapy, but Guardian Elder Care allegedly pressured therapists to provide those services anyway to meet revenue goals.
Patients receiving unnecessary treatments included individuals with dementia who did not want rehab and dying patients receiving hospice care with no need for intensive therapy. The therapies would be billed to Medicare, at the taxpayers expense.
Unnecessary and Inappropriate Care
According to the U.S Attorney on the case, William M. McSwain, “too much rehabilitation therapy can actually harm patients, just like giving them too many pills or too much medicine.”
Seniors in long-term nursing facilities rely on the administrators and healthcare workers to provide the proper care and treatment to maintain their quality of life. Unfortunately, some of these facilities put profit over people. Some of the ways nursing homes put residents at risk of injury or harm include:
- Understaffing nursing homes to save money, leaving patients waiting for care or going too long between wellness checks;
- Overmedicating patients to keep them quiet or docile, while billing Medicare for the unnecessary medication; and
- Infection control deficiencies by failing to follow cleaning and disinfection protocols to save on staffing costs.
Suspected Elder Abuse
If you suspect a family member in a nursing home is not being properly cared for by neglecting the resident or providing unnecessary medication or treatment, you can take action to protect your loved one. An experienced Philadelphia elder abuse attorney can investigate the situation, report the suspected abuse, and file a lawsuit to get compensation for the abuse or neglect. Do not hesitate to contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.
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