A widow who is a resident of St. Anthony’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rock Island is suing the nursing home and two former employees for forcing her to sell her home and giving her only $2,000 from the sale. In addition to the civil suit, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has fined the nursing home $2,000 for having a hand in financial abuse of an elder. The Rock Island County state’s attorney is also currently investigating the incident to determine if they will proceed with criminal charges.
Husband of St. Anthony’s Employee Bought Widow’s Home
The facts do not appear to be in the nursing home’s favor. Colleen Allen, a widow who was admitted to St. Anthony’s with congestive heart failure and bipolar disorder, says she was told she had to sell her home to keep her Medicaid benefits. She reluctantly consented and was given $2,000 from the sale in April 2016.
However, records show that Mrs. Allen’s house was sold to Rick Rhoads, Tamsin Ramirez’s husband. Ramirez is the former Social Services Director of St. Anthony’s. According to Mr. Rhoads, he was first made aware of the home by his wife, who heard about the opportunity from Staci Redman, the former business office manager of St. Anthony’s. During the sale, Mr. Rhoads was represented by both an agent and a real estate attorney, and the purchase price is listed as $10,000. Colleen Allen had neither an agent or attorney and instead consented by signing paperwork the nursing home told her she had to fill out.
A year later, Mr. Ramirez turned around and sold Mrs. Allen’s former home for $95,000.
Losing Home Is a Fear for Many on Medicaid
Many nursing home residents or those planning to need nursing home care in the future are unsure about whether their home can be taken from them to pay for their long term care.
In Illinois, assets (tangible items of value) are placed in one of two categories: exempt and available. Exempt assets are allowed to be kept, while available assets should be sold off to help pay for nursing home costs before a recipient can use Medicaid funds. In general, a home is considered an exempt asset if it is the primary residence of the Medicaid recipient, their husband, wife, or a dependent, and if the home’s equity amount is less than $572,000. According to reports, it appears that Mrs. Allen was the sole resident of the home and that according to current Medicaid eligibility rules, it is possible that she would have to sell the home to pay for her care. However, the nursing home’s part in selling the home for just $10,000 to the husband of an employee and then only giving her $2,000 is the subject of both Mrs. Allen’s lawsuit, the state’s attorney’s investigation, and the reason for the fine from IDPH. The fact that the same home later sold for $95,000 also does not bode well for the two former employees of St. Anthony’s.
If someone you love has been the victim of financial abuse of any kind from any type of caregiver, the elder abuse attorneys of Chicago’s Levin & Perconti can help. Since 1992, we have successfully represented families whose loved ones have been physically, mentally, and financially abused by those whom they believed they could trust. Consultations are free and can be requested by calling us toll free at 1-877-374-1417, locally at 312-332-2872 or by filling out a free case evaluation request form here.