Most of the most hideous cases of nursing home abuse are usually connected in one way or another to money. The drive for profit leads to costs being cut, staff levels kept low, and residents left to languish. The same drive for profits often affects the way the facility deals with the Medicare and Medicaid programs which pay for much of this care–with some attempting to bill as much as possible. For that reason, it is not uncommon to have Illinois nursing home neglect and Medicare/Medicaid fraud go hand-in-hand.
For example, the Sandy Springs Patch reported this week on the end of a criminal trial involving elder abuse and Medicare and Medicaid fraud. According to the story, there were many complaints made about three separate nursing homes owned and operated by a couple. The complaints alleged that residents were living in horrendous conditions at the facilities while the owners continued to rake in federal funds for their care.
The conduct eventually caught up to the couple after an investigation was launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The details of the situations that came out are enough to turn the stomach. The conditions had deteriorated such that some residents were near starvation. The story notes that the conditions are the facility were simply unlivable: “roofs were leaky, air conditioning and heating units were broken, resident’s rooms were filled with bugs and rodents, rotting garbage in dumpsters were nearby, and mildew and foul odors swelled in the air.”
Even then, the facility was given many opportunities to correct itself. It was only after the owners did little to nothing to improve the situation that the facilities were closed and charges filed.
All told, the three facilities were home to over 300 residents. It is likely impossible to fully gauge the physical, mental, and emotional toll that these living conditions had on those forced to fend for themselves in these establishments. Our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys know that so many seniors never understand that they have rights which must be respected by their caregivers. As a result, most simply deal with their difficult situation, no matter how unbearable. It is only when outside observers step in that anything is done.
In this case, criminal charges were filed against the owners following the investigation–criminal charges are somewhat rare in these cases. The case revolved around the horrid conditions and the fact that the owners received over $33 million over a three year period to provide the necessary food, medical care, and other basic services for the residents. The prosecutors alleged that the services provided were essentially “worthless,” constituting Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
This week one owner was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The man’s wife (and co-owner) previously pled guilty to a string a charges connected to the incident, but she has yet to be sentenced.
Each Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm knows that while this case may seem to be an extreme example, it is indicative of the chronic mistreatment faced by so many seniors throughout our area. Please do not let any suspicions of neglect go unnoticed. If you or a loved one has been hurt by inadequate nursing home care, visit a legal professional and see what can be done to prevent further mistreatment.
See Our Related Blog Posts: