Perhaps There Will Finally be a Day of Reckoning for Nursing Care Owners

Increased Nursing Home Data Reporting Could Bring ‘Perfect Storm’ of Federal Lawsuits

Under regulations instituted as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, skilled nursing facilities are reporting a wealth of information to the federal government — on top of all the information they were required to submit pre-pandemic.

And that information could end up being the guiding light for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), according to a webinar hosted Thursday by the continuing education provider Strafford.

Skilled Nursing News, Click here.

“Under regulations instituted as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, skilled nursing facilities are reporting a wealth of information to the federal government — on top of all the information they were required to submit pre-pandemic.

And that information could end up being the guiding light for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), according to a webinar hosted Thursday by the continuing education provider Strafford.

The presentation focused on reporting requirements for SNFs, government enforcement actions and compliance, and preparation for enhanced enforcement.”

[Excerpt]

“Is this really the perfect storm, then, for a potential wave of lawsuits initiated by DOJ with a much richer database for targeting facilities with with a record in infection control surveys and IJs [immediate jeopardy deficiencies]?” McGovern asked on the webinar. “Time will tell about that. But it’s not simply DOJ. If DOJ doesn’t take the initiative, whistleblowers can also bring lawsuits under the False Claims Act (FCA) and seek to recover the considerable damages afforded under the FCA.”

FCA cases relate to the conduct of private companies that do business with Medicare, Medicaid, and other public health care funding sources, and generally involve fraud, as Bloomberg noted in September 2019 covering an announcement by the DOJ that it would pursue criminal charges in such cases that involved nursing homes.

Many of the claims that hit nursing homes related to the provision of therapy, such as the $30 million settlement agreed to by the Louisville, Ky.-based Signature HealthCARE, the $15 million settlement from Brockway, Pa.-based Guardian Elder Care, or the saga related to the case of several SNFs and a therapy company that eventually settled for $255 million.

To continue reading click here.

HHS and the Sheer Stupidity of Giving for-Profit Nursing Homes MORE Money -Covid

OPINION No Amount of Money is Going Incentivize a Morally Bankrupt and Profit Centric Nursing Home Owner/Operator/ Manager to Improve Care to Patients – More Oversight is Required

Whomever thought up the idea that shelling out MORE money to nursing homes, their owners, managers, wealthy entrepreneurs and magnates to reduce Covid-19 numbers doesn’t seem to understand the dynamics of the nursing home industry. In fact, that idea represents an utter and complete disregard for the entire history of the nursing home industry, the coining of money that occurs and the harrowing lack of oversight that lead to Covid-19 deaths.

It was not about a lack of funding for appropriate care. The deaths were caused by greed. The stockpiling of PPE (and respirators) so they could be traded or sold on a secondary market, represented greed.

The obscene amounts of money that has already been given to fabulously wealthy owners, operators and magnates in the form of PPP and EIDL loans has only allowed the wealthy to get wealthier. It has improved nothing else. And, you cannot buy a conscience with that money, which would be what is required to stop improve the quality of life of every individual currently residing in nursing homes and to prevent further death when Covid-19 ravages these homes again.

To many of the owners, operators and managers in for-profit care nursing and rehabilitation centers, a patient represents an equity interest in a financial gain, whether that gain is in the form of Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance, or in the form of a life insurance policy after a patient has died. Nursing care is not about improving the lives for human beings, the vulnerable and the most in need of care and compassion. It is not about preventing a spread of a deadly virus.

For every person who died from Covid-19, the owners, operators and magnates made money on life insurance policies where they didn’t on some other death benefit or healthcare payment. The owners, operators and managers are all but printing money in the basements of some of these homes, coining it. They DO NOT need more money. What they need is oversight.

For many of these nursing home owners, operators, managers and the equity interested individuals, providing additional access to money is like giving an opiate to an addict. You cannot instill in many of these individuals a sense of moral obligation to do right by their patients, clients and families. These people are not morally challenged they are morally bankrupt and the money only feeds into an ability to obtain more equity on human life and death.

If NY Gov. Was Not so Entrenched, He Would Want Nursing Home Investigation

New York GOP renews push for investigation into nursing home deaths


“N.Y. Republicans want answers on nursing home deaths – New York Daily News javascript:false

ALBANY — Republican lawmakers launched a petition drive Wednesday in an effort to push for an investigation into the number of coronavirus deaths in New York State nursing homes.

The petition calls on Democratic leaders to get behind a bill that would spark an independent investigation examining how the state handled the surge in COVID-19 cases among the elderly and what can be done to prepare for a potential second wave of the virus.

N.Y. Republicans want answers on nursing home deaths – New York Daily News javascript:false

“We’re launching this petition drive to harness the power of the citizenry to pressure the Majorities to bring forward bipartisan legislation for an independent investigation to subpoena the Health Department so we can provide a measure of closure to the loved ones of those who died and prevent this from happening again,” said sponsor New York Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville).

The state has reported more than 6,400 COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes across the state, but critics contend that the number could be significantly higher since the Cuomo administration does not include elder care residents who died in hospitals. Advertisement

Tedisco, Sen. Daphne Jordan (R-Halfmoon) and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R-Ballston) said the bill would create an independent investigation that would have subpoena power and help the public learn the real numbers of New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 in state-regulated nursing homes.

Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi slammed the petition as a “political stunt” and said that it exposed a recently announced Department of Justice request for information about nursing home deaths as the same.”

To continue reading in the New York Daily News click here.

The Not-so-Fine Rabbi Feiner, Baver and FNR Healthcare

Department of JusticeU.S. Attorney’s OfficeNorthern District of Illinois


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, September 14, 2020

Chicago Nursing Home Executives Charged With Operating Ponzi Scheme

CHICAGO — The owner of a chain of nursing homes and the company’s executive vice president have been charged with fraud for allegedly orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that raised millions of dollars from investors.

ZVI FEINER was the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Skokie-based FNR Healthcare LLC, and EREZ BAVER served as FNR’s Executive Vice President and bookkeeper.  From 2012 to 2017, Feiner and Baver operated a fraud scheme involving the misappropriation of funds raised through the sale of membership interests in companies that Feiner created under the FNR umbrella to purchase and sell nursing homes and assisted living facilities, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  The indictment accuses Feiner and Baver of intentionally misleading investors about the financial condition of the companies in order to fraudulently raise funds. 

In reality, the payments of returns to investors were funded through a Ponzi scheme, with Feiner and Baver paying early investors with money raised from later investors, the charges allege.  Feiner and Baver also used investor funds for purposes unrelated to the purchase or acquisition of the healthcare facilities, including for Feiner’s and Baver’s own personal benefit, the indictment states.

The indictment seeks forfeiture from Feiner of $13.56 million, and from Baver of $3.76 million.

The indictment charges Feiner, 50, of Chicago, with ten counts of wire fraud, and Baver, 40, of Chicago, with one count of wire fraud.  Feiner has pleaded not guilty to all counts.  Arraignment for Baver is set for Sept. 16, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Martha M. Pacold.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Chicago provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Malizia.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.  The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attachment(s): Download Feiner and Baver indictmentTopic(s): Financial FraudSecurities, Commodities, & Investment FraudComponent(s): Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)USAO – Illinois, Northern

The Feiner Points for the Elderly – Rosewood Anyone?


FRAUD

Former Rosewood Owner Indicted on 10 Fraud Counts in Nursing Home ‘Ponzi Scheme’

The indictment represents the latest instance of legal trouble for Feiner, whose ownership of the Rosewood Care Centers portfolio resulted in the worst default — $146 million — in the history of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) loan program for health care facilities.

An administrative law judge last summer approved a nearly $1 million penalty against Feiner to resolve claims that the businessman and rabbi failed to file three years’ worth of necessary HUD paperwork associated with the portfolio.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last September sued Feiner and Baver for defrauding investors; in that case, the government accused Feiner of using his position as a Chicagoland religious leader to advance the scheme.

“As such, he exploited those relationships by soliciting members of the Orthodox Jewish community to invest in his scheme,” the SEC wrote. “Baver also solicited investors from this community.”

Mark Yampol, who managed the portfolio of Rosewood locations in Illinois and Missouri, was indicted earlier this summer on a single count of equity skimming related to the portfolio.

The Rosewood default sent shockwaves through the health care lending industry when the New York Times first publicized the incident in June 2019.

Skilled Nursing News, to Continue reading click here.

Biggest Mortgage Default in History, Nursing Home Rabbi Feiner Indictment

Ex-Owner in $146 Million Elder Care Default Is Charged in Ponzi Case

A Chicago-area rabbi, who formerly owned a nursing home chain at the heart of the biggest default in the history of a federal mortgage-guarantee program, has been indicted by federal authorities on charges he bilked millions of dollars from investors.

The indictment against Zvi Feiner and a business partner, Erez Baver, is the latest chapter in the yearslong saga involving the Rosewood Care Centers chain of nursing homes, which are mainly in the Chicago suburbs.

The $146 million default in 2018 was the worst ever for a program that insures mortgages on roughly 15 percent of the nation’s nursing homes. In the aftermath, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the mortgage guarantee program, tightened some of its underwriting and review processes.

The Rosewood chain — which has been renamed by the new owners — was part of a network of nursing homes that Mr. Feiner, 50, and Mr. Baver bought after raising money from investors in the Orthodox Jewish communities around Chicago and New York.

Continue here: The New York Times

The Schwartz-Skyline Empire, Accountability and Covid-19

WILL THE SCHWARTZ EMPIRE FINALLY BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE UNTHINKABLE TRAGEDY AND LOSS OF HUMAN LIFE? WILL THE RINGMASTERS FINALLY HAVE TO SHUT DOWN THEIR MANY-RING CIRCUS?

Today, September 8, 2020, CNN reported on the lawsuit filed against Louis Schwartz, son of Joseph Schwartz and his partner Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum and a number of other defendants for the deaths that occurred in the Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center.

Allegedly New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is investigating the deaths at the facility. We have our doubts on that investigation as it negates the possibility that New Jersey’s Governor Murphy will not impose what we have referred to as the “Granny Killer Immunity Provisions” on any Covid-19 related deaths at the home, thereby negating any accountability.

But the lawsuit against the Andover facility and its owners is not based upon Covid-19. It is based upon Andover’s sales pitch and how it allegedly is misleading.

The nephew of a man who died during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in New Jersey is suing the nursing home where his uncle was a resident, alleging that the facility failed to provide the legally required level of care while fraudulently claiming to do so.

The nursing home, Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center II in Lafayette Township, New Jersey, is the same facility where authorities found 17 bodies in April in a morgue meant for four. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is continuing to investigate Covid-19-related deaths at the facility.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/08/us/new-jersey-nursing-home-covid-death-suit/index.html

 

Setting the Stage:

Joseph and Louis Schwartz, a father and son team, own a litany of nursing care facilities. Joseph Schwartz was the owner “extraordinaire” of an empire of failed nursing homes, widely covered during the summer of 2019, the Skyline nursing homes.

The most comprehensive article at the time was published by ABC News and entitled: A nursing home chain grows too fast and collapses, and elderly and disabled residents pay the price (https://www.nbcnews.com/health/aging/nursing-home-chain-grows-too-fast-collapses-elderly-disabled-residents-n1025381 )

One would have thought that the demise and devastation he created woud have resulted in strict oversight, that Joseph Schwartz would have been compelled to divest himself of any ownership. But, that is not what happened. Instead, his son took the reins and that ownership is really just an alter-ego for his own name on the facilities. They are, after all, a team.

The 100 plus facilities that in large part failed, thereby ravaging the lives of the elderly in whose care the Schwartz’s were entrusted, should have made both Schwartzs ineligible to continue holding any stake in these homes. For the families of those who died or were displaced, that would have been the right result. But, well… no. That’s not how these thing work.

The Wood Ridge, N.J.-based Skyline at its height owned or operated more than 100 skilled nursing facilities in 11 states, overseeing the care of more than 7,000 seniors, NBC reported. But the chain began to fall apart in the spring of last year, starting with the state of Nebraska, which had to appoint a third-party receiver after Skyline’s owners failed to make payroll. The state of Kansas followed suit soon after, and some weeks later, the company fell apart in South Dakota and in Pennsylvania. (New Investigation Puts Skyline Healthcare Back in the Spotlight) From Skilled Nursing News

(https://skillednursingnews.com/2019/07/new-investigation-puts-skyline-

Ownership as a Flexible and Nebulous Term: Continue reading