In another case involving allegations against a nursing home, including of abuse, four individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of racketeering and healthcare fraud.
The four were indicted on multiple felony charges involving the operation of a now-closed facility—the Brian Center—according to the TimesNews. Included in the four are former owner and facility president, Avi Klein, 45, who was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy; one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail, and healthcare fraud; 10 counts of wire fraud; one count of healthcare fraud; 55 counts of mail fraud; one count of obstruction of justice; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The Center’s director of nursing operations was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy; one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail, and healthcare fraud; eight counts of wire fraud; one count of healthcare fraud; and one count of conspiracy to make false statements. The two others were charged with various counts of racketeering conspiracy; conspiracy to commit wire, mail and healthcare fraud; wire fraud; healthcare fraud; mail fraud; obstruction of justice; conspiracy to make false statements; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each racketeering count carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; money laundering charges carry a 10 year prison sentence and a fine of $250,000, according to TimesNews.
All of the charges involve the operation of the Brian Center, which was also known as Continuum Care of Weber City before it closed in August 2012 after the federal government moved to cease its ability to accept Medicare and Medicaid the month prior. The location re-opened in 2013 under new management and under the name, Nova Health and Rehab Group, TimesNews wrote.
The indictment alleges what has been described as a “multi-faceted scheme” that involved defrauding Medicare and Virginia Medicaid by operating the home without sufficient staff or supplies, which is a violation of federal nursing facility rules. Other allegations include that the group defrauded vendors and facility staff and that employee’s had money taken from their paychecks to pay for benefits that were never provided, according TimesNews.
As for the residents, the actions of the four allegedly resulted in residents existing in unsanitary and unclean conditions; to be subjected to poor nutrition; and to be subjected to a lack of hygiene, including in bathing, toileting, turning, and feeding. Allegations also included bed sores and other ailments that were neglected in the 90-bed facility, TimesNews reported. The charges originated with a collaborative probe carried out by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigations, the Virginia Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.
In late 2010, agents from the IRS and Virginia Attorney General’s Office raided the facility and two other former staff members—a registered nurse and nursing director—have pleaded guilty to federal charges originating with that investigation. Charges involved making false statements concerning the treatment of patients, reported TimesNews.
The facility had long suffered from compliance issues under both its prior names and it was ultimately placed on a special focus list in 2010 for nursing home facilities deemed among the worst in its state at meeting state and federal mandates. In late 2011, the facility received a rating of one star out of a potential five by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is considered “much below average,” and based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures, according to TimesNews.