Red Hook, Flood Zones, The Braunstein Family Affairs…

More About the Braunstein Healthcare Empire, Medicaid and…. David Greenfield – the guy who gets to oversee zoning

Thank you to our contributors. We did our best to edit as little as possible on this. May 10, 2016
LM has reported on the Braunsteins several times. The father and son pair can be found in Ramapo, New York, and in Red Hook, Brooklyn, just to name a few. But wherever they are, scandal is not far behind.
In Red Hook, papa Braunstein is attempting to relocate his Oxford Nursing Home from a  hot real estate neighborhood in Ft Greene Brooklyn (where he can turn a huge profit or create expensive housing) to Red Hook where there have been numerous protests within the community. However, what is not being considered is permitting Braunstein to be the steward of old people in a storm surge evacuation facility!!
Braunstein is, as far as we can tell, a despicable owner/operator of numerous healthcare facilities who, not only potentially defrauds the Medicaid system; but keeps his patents heavily sedated – more than most facilities. In some cases, they are arguably so drugged that the Braunstein team can keep payroll for aides low.
Just think: if the patients are largely comatose, there is little need for people to watch over them.
And from what we can see, while Borough President Adams seemed to “get it”. We are skeptical regarding David Greenfield, the Chair of the Land Use Committee of the City Council who will undoubtedly be the flack to rezone the Red Hook location to accommodate his comrades.

Rewind to an old New York Times Article, little has changed since:

“Consider three homes in the Bronx. The operator of the Laconia Nursing Home, which receives 90 percent of its revenues from Medicaid, earned $3 million in salary and profit. At the Grand Manor Nursing Home, also 90 percent financed by Medicaid, the operator and three family members earned a total of $2.4 million in salaries and profit. The owner and operator of the Morris Park home, 75 percent financed by Medicaid, took in $1.5 million in salary and profit.

Advocates for nursing home residents acknowledge that the homes’ operators and executives are entitled to make decent profits and salaries. But the advocates insist that it is unseemly for the profits and salaries to reach such high levels, given what the advocates contend is the industry’s longstanding record of poor care. They point out that at New York nursing homes, the staffing levels are lower than the national average, a crucial indicator. All three of the Bronx homes have staffing levels lower than the national average, according to federal statistics.

“It’s unconscionable to give yourself high salaries and not give some more money to hire people so some of these quality problems can be dealt with,” said Cynthia Rudder, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, an advocacy group for nursing home residents.

Trade groups representing nursing homes counter that most homes in the state are actually in financial distress because Medicaid does not pay enough.

Many hospital executives in New York also receive high salaries, but hospitals earn significant revenues from sources other than government social programs, including H.M.O.’s and private insurance. The 550 public, private and nonprofit nursing homes around the state, by contrast, earn more than two-thirds of their revenues from Medicaid, taking in roughly $6 billion last year from the program, according to state records. Many clinics receive most of their revenues from Medicaid as well.

Morris Berkowitz, operator of the Morris Park home, said he deserved his profits because he worked long hours and provided excellent care.

“Do you know how much I have invested in this place?” he said. “A lot of money. And I am constantly investing in this place.”

Earlier this year, after residents repeatedly wandered from Morris Park, federal and state officials accused the home of grievously poor supervision, and it was fined $86,000.

Mr. Berkowitz said the home had done nothing wrong. “It was a political thing, and we got caught up in it,” he said. “People with power, they abuse their power.”

Martin Liebman, operator of Grand Manor, said it was misleading to focus on salaries and profits.

“This is a family-owned business,” said Mr. Liebman, an officer of the state trade group of private nursing homes. “I’m third generation in the business. We have taken care of thousands of residents and given quality care for many, many years.”

Barry Braunstein, operator of the Laconia home, did not respond to three calls seeking comment.

Besides their high salaries, some executives profiting from Medicaid were also taking part in another tradition: cheating the program.”

Fast forward to an op-ed comment we received from one of our contributors:

“While I understand the aesthetic and contextual objections to the proposed 200 bed rezoning to accommodate a would-be Nursing Home…I’d like to also point out that the current operator/owner of the facility in Ft Greene has been a poor steward of his patients: Conover King Realty LLC aka Motechin. An in-depth review of the questionable standards of care deserve “equal time”…!
There’s a moral and ethical question which must part of the conversation. Why and how can the City [Greenfield] give a for-profit business special dispensation by rezoning community property on behalf of those who feel no compunction about over-medicating and sedating the elders who at their mercy? It’s just not good enough to say because there is a real need for more long term care and nursing facilities, that it’s perfectly okay to make a ‘pact with the devil’…The owner will make a tidy profit from the sale of his South Oxford facility…this neighborhood is the wild west of property churning…his avowals of a Red Hook nursing facility will be the precursor to market rate housing…I’m willing to bet the farm…Do not be fooled…his interest has nothing to do with providing seniors with a “more modern facility”…

Here’s a reference to the dismaying history of this nursing home and its owner/manager…some history on one of the owners.  Please note this from Norman Motechin -the Oxford Administrator in an article in the Gotham Gazette in Feb 2013-an excerpt:
More than half of the 205 residents at Oxford Nursing Home in Brooklyn were administered the potent drugs. Oxford’s administrator, Norman Motechin, said he was not familiar with the numbers and declined to discuss them.”  
Multiply this by who knows how many…and understand that too often these places where we send our loved ones are only holding sites for would-be developers…These “operators” suck up Medicare and Medicaid and keep their charges over medicated…understaffed…and immorally un-cared for.  
Red Hook…please…it may well be about property…but even more, it’s about the sub rosa oblivion we in the community have about our responsibility to care for our family members and our neighbors with some ethical concern!

 As we age…we are next…
Attention MUST BE PAID to the perpetuation of assisted living senior residences as well as “nursing homes” by real estate interests masquerading as administrators of care for the vulnerable. The churning of property is at the expense of the fragile and weak who cannot speak for themselves and who are additionally victimized by an oblivious NY State Department of Health and removed Federal oversight and… it’s repugnant.  
The city agencies MUST NOT abet via MIH, rezoning, subsidies or programs of that ilk, bad actors. Authenticity and an examination of track records must be mandatory first, if we are to protect fragile seniors from predatory greed.
Before privileges are given integrity MUST be verified.

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