Articles Posted in Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act

The nursing home real estate trust investment company, Extended Care Real Estate Trust Investments, which operated 146 skilled nursing facilities in 11 states, was found to have over-billed Medicare and Medicaid, provided substandard and essentially worthless nursing care and put in place worthless rehabilitation therapy.

Two private citizens, including the entities’ area director of rehabilitation, brought separate whistleblower lawsuits under the federal False Claims Act on behalf of the United States and themselves. It was alleged that Extended Care bilked Medicare and Medicaid for nursing services that they didn’t provide or failed to meet federal and state standards in 33 of the skilled nursing homes in multiple states. These states included Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Washington.

The lawsuit alleged that Extended Care chose not to provide an adequate number of skilled nurses and sufficient catheter care and failed to prevent pressure ulcers or falls to its many residents.

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Two former employees of Momence Meadow Nursing Center, Vanessa Absher and Lynda Mitchell, asserted that Momence Meadows and its owner, Jacob Graff, consistently chose not to provide nursing home residents with the adequate care. It was alleged that the nursing home staff allowed patients to suffer neglect, lack of medical care and food, lying in urine- and feces- soaked beds, not receiving required prescribed medications and suffering ongoing outbreaks of skin disorders and infections, including bed sores and at least 6 deaths attributable to defendants’ failure of care.

The plaintiffs, the individual whistleblowers and the United States contended that the defendants chose not to meet the Illinois Department of Public Health’s minimum staffing requirements. It was claimed that the defendants were guilty of grossly inadequate staffing levels and knowingly submitted thousands of false claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid, forged and destroyed medical documents and staffing logs to conceal the inadequate care, instructed the nursing staff not to log negative information related to patient care such as falls and missed meals and medication, and routinely ripped out pages from medical records that would have shown lapses in care. The defendants were alleged to have then replaced medical records with more favorable entries and even forged nurses’ signatures. 

During the employment of Absher and Mitchell, they  repeatedly complained to the nursing homes’ management and reported several incidents to the Illinois Department of Public Health nursing home hotline. 

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