Skilled nursing facility settles Medicaid lawsuit for $28 million

A Nskilled nursing facility has agreed to pay $28 million and implement reforms to settle a lawsuit alleging fraud, neglect and criminal conduct by the facility’s owners and staff. A civil lawsuit claimed the owners of Medford Multicare Center in Medford, NY, “looted the corporation” by cutting staffing and service and diverting Medicaid funds to themselves, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said when announcing the settlement in June. Medford was mentioned in the news in 2012 following the death of Aurelia Rios, a short-term rehabilitation resident who died after staff failed to attach her to a ventilator before she went to bed.

The facility’s former administrator was sentenced to seven days in jail in connection with that incident, and three nurses and two respiratory therapists were convicted on multiple charges and received sentences ranging from 45 days to nine months in jail.

Medford will have to pay $10 million in restitution to Medicaid as part of the settlement and implement a series of reforms, including retaining an independent operator to manage compliance for five years, maintaining proper staffing levels for seven years and adding a full-time compliance and risk management officer to the staff.

The facility also must hold ongoing care training programs for staff and ensure that the full-time nursing staff are managed by registered nursing supervisors.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers in many Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases across the country.