Per a settlement agreement, 5 employees of Genesis Healthcare subsidiaries are owed $10 million for exposing an ongoing scheme of deceitful billing for unnecessary hospice services. The total settlement agreed to by Genesis is $54 million.
Despite their exposure for hospice fraud, the chain took over Skilled Healthcare Group and Sun Healthcare Group, two of the subsidiaries named in the lawsuit. The acquisitions made Genesis Healthcare one of the largest nursing home chains in the country, with over 500 facilities in 34 states.
In the lawsuit, the employees describe how co-workers regularly falsified paperwork by stating they had conducted in-person patient evaluations to determine their eligibility for hospice. In reality, the facilities had not formally evaluated patients to classify the severity of their illness and instead kept them regardless of whether or not their condition was considered terminal. By keeping patients who were not facing a terminal illness, Genesis subsidiaries were able to rack up charges for services that were deemed medically unnecessary. This practice is specifically forbidden in the False Claims Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Whistleblowers Crucial to Exposing Abuse and Neglect at Nursing Homes
Employees of nursing homes deeply care about the people who they serve. This compassion is key to doing the job well. Valuable, hard-working employees can become frightened and conflicted when they see the residents of facilities being mistreated. Many work in understaffed facilities that do not allow enough time to complete their daily tasks, while others are not provided with the supplies they need to do their jobs. Others witness full blown physical and mental abuse by other members of the staff. These healthcare workers can be a very important part of prosecuting violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
That same act gives whistleblowers legal protection from retaliation for reporting or threatening to report violations of the laws or regulations concerning the care of nursing home residents.
This means that if you are a nursing home employee who becomes a whistleblower, it is illegal for an employer to fire you, reprimand you, suspend you, demote you, refuse to promote you, deny a transfer, or change your employment terms or conditions based on the fact that you filed a complaint.
If you are aware of any form of abuse or neglect at a nursing home, long term care facility, hospice center, or other medical facility, please call our confidential nursing home whistleblower hotline at 312-332-2872 to report your suspicions or incidents you may have directly witnessed. You can also email us confidentially at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website contact form. All calls and consultations are free and confidential.