Nursing Home Owner Faces Multiple Charges
The owner of Legacy Health Systems, which once operated twenty-seven nursing care facilities in Kentucky and two other states, appeared in a St. Louis courtroom to answer charges that he stole over $650,000 in Medicaid funds.
The 52-year-old Nursing Home owner faces up to 37 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of health care fraud. According to court documents, the owner repeatedly siphoned funds from the chain of nursing care facilities. Among other items, he allegedly spent $185,000 at strip clubs, wrote $439,000 in checks to himself, and transferred $153,000 to a relative. As the owner stole money, things got so bad at one of the company’s nursing care facilities that the state of Missouri closed one nursing home and moved its 60 residents to other locations.
The nursing home owners’ lawyer said his client, who faces unrelated charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly pushed his girlfriend through a glass-top coffee table and exposed himself to her son, struggles with drug and alcohol dependency.
The Link Between Money and Abuse
Even if their owners aren’t thieves, many nursing care facilities face serious financial problems. Medicare payments are the largest source of income for many of these organizations, and Medicare reimbursement rates have plummeted over the last decade.
At roughly the same time, the government changed its reimbursement model from payment per intervention to a lump-sum per resident. In other words, the old system encouraged frequent patient care, because the nursing home facility got paid with every interaction. The new system does the opposite, because the company basically loses money every time a staff member walks into a patient’s room.
To balance the lost revenue, many nursing care facilities have eliminated jobs or trimmed payroll. The remaining staff is overworked, creating a fertile environment for resident-on-resident abuse, which is one of the fastest-growing forms of nursing home neglect. Because of low staff levels, petty disputes between the residents escalate into violence, and since so many nursing home residents are physically weak, a small amount of force often causes serious injury.
Compensation in nursing home abuse cases normally includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Juries often award substantial punitive damages in these cases as well, and there is no cap on medical malpractice punitive damages in Kentucky.
Abuse and neglect are usually the natural outcroppings of financial problems at nursing care facilities. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Franklin, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.