Published on May 1, 2017
THE G-MAN INTERVIEWS: JACK HALPERN
Whistleblower Says Managed Long-Term Care and Home Health Agencies Have No Real Oversight in NYS, Warns the Elderly Will Continue to Be Abused or Die
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Jack Halpern, who’s made two previous appearances on this show, is the CEO of the New York City-based “My Elder Advocate, LLC”, an organization provides advocacy services and helps seniors with issues such as eviction prevention, nursing home or assisted living placement and long term care planning.
Mr. Halpern, a 40-year veteran of the industry, joins me to explain why Managed Long-Term Care, also known as MLTCs, and home health care agencies in New York State have no real oversight, He will also explain why he believes thousands of seniors will continue to be abused or die as a result.
The interview was conducted on April 24, 2017.
Information pertaining to this episode is available through the following links:
My Elder Advocate, LLC.
Home Health Care News
- Standard YouTube License
Ben Landa – a Comment to Our Previous Post – SentosaCare and Google
LostMessiah – 20.04.17
After reading one of the “glowing endorsements” of Ben Landa we received in the comments to our previous posting, and in an effort to stay true to investigating the voracity of our commenter’s claims that the staff at SentosaCare is happy in their positions, we decided to do as the commenter asked, “Google.”
Much to our chagrin, there were numerous glowing articles about SentosaCare and Ben Landa all of which, unsurprisingly, were posted on SentosaCare’s websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages or those of SentosaCare’s affiliates and partners. We also found glowing reviews of Ben Landa, also on his own website, LinkedIn pages and Twitter feeds. Unsurprising, there were no flowery reports about Ben Landa being a “great guy.”
In fact, among the many things we found on our Google search (completed at the request of the commenter) were a string of lawsuits against SentosaCare, the most chilling of which related to the company’s treatment of its Filipino staff. We were surprised to find a string of repeated accusations dating back to 2004 and elder care issues at Fensterman’s nursing home in 2003 and earlier. But Fensterman was not the subject of our commenter’s words of praise. We were thus shamed into realizing that not enough has been said about SentosaCare, Ben Landa, Howard Fensterman and the political gamesmanship that has facilitated, if not out rightly endorsed these facilities.
We discovered, thanks to our commenter, that the most interesting and unsettling explanation for the success of these facilities can be found at least as early as 2005. There are certainly numerous articles supporting our repeated contentions that politics and the political generosity of the owners of these homes are like binary stars, functioning because they feed off each other like parasites. Political clout knows no bounds and moral bankruptcy can likely not be crammed down.
The reality of today could not be better described than it was in an article from 2007 by Michael Amon and Ridgely Ochs entitled:
“How a Long Island Nursing Home Empire Got Its Way”
Instead of posting that article, which only serves to outline the history of behavior found in our previous post, we decided to post the text of an article found on the website of a South Carolina law firm. While we know nothing at all about this firm, their words speaks volumes.
In the interest of full disclosure, this posting is not an endorsement of the law firm quoted nor is it an advertisement on behalf of the law firm. We know nothing about the law firm or their services but are simply posting information we found in a Google search. We felt it important to show that we indulged the request of one of our commenters and the results of that request led us here. – LM
SENTOSACARE: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE AREN’T PUT FIRST?
POSTED BY CHRISTIAN & DAVIS LLC || 29-OCT-2015
With more than 5000 beds in 25 facilities, SentosaCare, LLC is now the largest nursing home network in the state of New York. However, a quick look into the record of complaints, fines, and violations is enough to make one wonder how SentosaCare is allowed to run one facility, let alone acquire dozens more.
In one particularly harrowing story, a 60 year old patient was placed into a SentosaCare facility to recover from a diabetic emergency. He entered the facility with minor wounds on his foot, and expected them to heal over the six weeks he planned to stay at the home. However, his “recovery” soon led to an emergency hospital visit, as negligence by caretakers led to a severe infection which required amputating his foot.
Why is SentosaCare Being Allowed to Expand?
In New York, prospective buyers of nursing home facilities must pass a “character-and-competence” review before the transaction will be allowed. The Public Health and Health Planning Council is supposed to deny these deals when they find that the facilities have repeat violations which could potentially put the residents at risk. The Council works primarily off of reports and records compiled by the Department of Health.
However, the Department of Health has regularly excluded or failed to report major violations, including more than 20 federal fines which SentosaCare facilities have been ordered to pay. Inspections reports have indicated numerous instances of residents wandering away, and in one case, freezing to death. Prosecutors and inspectors alike have found that staff members have falsified records. Despite this, the Department of Health found that SentosaCare homes provide a “substantially consistent high level of care.”
We Fight for Those Who Can’t
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of instances of improper patient care in SentosaCare facilities. While this group appears to be particularly troubled, similar abuse and neglect unfortunately occurs in facilities around the country. The Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general has even stated that one-third of all Medicare patients suffered preventable harm in a nursing home within one month of being admitted for short-term rehab. For more information, read this recent ProPublica article.
At Christian & Davis, LLC, our Greenville nursing home abuse attorneys are proud to stand up for the rights of the elderly. We believe that when you put your loved one into a nursing home, they deserve to receive a high standard of care – and the law is on our side. If someone you love has suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff, contact our firm immediately to pursue justice.
Hold negligent or abusive nursing homes accountable for their actions. Call (864) 408-8890 today for experienced, compassionate counsel.Categories: Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect
WHEN IS ENOUGH- ENOUGH?
SENTOSACARE’S ALLEGED ABUSES CONTINUE AS ALLEGED!
In a March 14, 2017 McKnight’s story on the class action complaint filed against SentosaCare for allegedly keeping 350 Filipino nurses in ‘indentured servitude,’ the author adds another example of the abuse of a system intended to protect our frail and vulnerable elderly.
Notwithstanding the detailed ProPublica Oct 2015 revelations about PHHPC and SentosaCare’s malfeasance, the Cuomo appointed agency has nonetheless facilitated the licensure of one of the stakeholders of SentosaCare-Benjamin Landa to purchase Briarcliff Manor. Operators of the largest skilled nursing facility consortia in New York State, with repeated articles regarding their treatment of both staff and patients are being permitted to expand.
Benjamin Landa and his gang of merry elder “caregivers” (using the terms loosely and with sarcasm) are suing propublica for reporting:
In spite of mounting evidence that this group should not be permitted to expand, we have the Public Health and Health Planning Council’s buy with no character/competency issues identified…Page 96
No negative information has been received concerning the character and competence of the above applicants. The proposed operators intend to enter into a contract for accounting services with Sapphire HC Management Care, LLC, which is a related party.
What does it take to be deemed “negative information”? If ending the continuation of the licensure of alleged criminal owner/operators is not a moral imperative question, what is?
Are we not obliged to ask whether it is no mere coincidence that Landa’s partner in SentosaCare, Howard Fensterman, (formerly of the PHHPC), contributed heavily to de Blasio’s first mayoral campaign?
Is it such a small world that he headed up the recruitment of Schumer’s Long Island campaign donations? Is it happenstance that $10,000 was given to Cuomo for his 2018 Campaign?
How many more vulnerable and disabled elderly will our Department of Health allow to be victimized by these same people?
How much money is enough to buy the silence of the very people we elect and hire to protect the most frail and fragile in our rapidly aging community?
How many aides must be subjected to abuse in the workplace, as these Filipino nurses were; or laid off by the thousands, as facilities are churned for real estate profiteering?
WHEN IS ENOUGH-ENOUGH?
- Landlord’s plans to turn SNF into condos led to residents’ deaths, lawsuit claims
- SNF operator, exec, to pay $2.5 million in false therapy claims case
- New York’s nurse vetting process ‘deeply flawed,’ watchdog asserts
- Report slams NY’s biggest for-profit nursing home group
- Feds join lawsuit against nursing home operator
Allure demands lender pay $40M for Brooklyn nursing home
March 06, 2017 01:40PM
By Kathryn Brenzel
The Allure Group fired back against a lawsuit filed by its lender on a Brooklyn nursing home, claiming that the financial firm should pay $40 million for the property.
Allure, headed by Joel Landau, claims that the Sabre Group must pay $40 million for 270 Nostrand Avenue and an additional $6 million because the sale of the property didn’t close on time, according to documents filed in state Supreme Court. Allure, one of the developers at the center of the Rivington House scandal, maintains that “the express and unambiguous provisions” of the mortgage it received from Sabre require the Midtown firm to pay $40 million for the property.
A spokesperson for Sabre would only say that Allure has “been in default for quite some time and that’s why we’re pursuing our claims.”
Sabre sued Allure in December, accusing the company of failing to repay a $20 million loan it provided to acquire the Brooklyn nursing home. Allure purchased CABS Nursing Home in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 2015 for $15.5 million. Sabre claims that, under the terms of the mortgage, it can purchase the nursing home for $25 million because Allure defaulted.
But Allure alleges that because the property was vacant and had no pending litigation at the time that Sabr tried to act on its purchase right, the lender is on the hook for higher purchasing price. The landlord also claims that a liquidated damages provision in the mortgage requires Sabr to put $6 million toward the outstanding balance on its loan, since the financial firm failed to acquire the property after Allure repeatedly scheduled closing dates.
Landau declined to comment.
In December, the city admitted that it did not have a legal case against Allure, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promise to sue the company for flipping 45 Rivington Street. Allure made $72 million when it sold the property to Slate Property Group. In April, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas after Allure filed demolition plans for the Nostrand property, with the intention of replacing it with a seven-story, 241-unit rental building.
The nursing home filed a lawsuit against Allure in December claiming the company marketed itself as a nursing home business while bidding for the property and instead forced residents out. The lawsuit also notes that the property flip may have led to the deaths of a few nursing home residents, who they say were forced out.
How does a 28-year-old raise more than $1 million for a congressional bid?
In his first run for Congress two years ago, Justin Fareed, a relative newcomer to politics, relied mostly on his own money. He didn’t make it past the primary.
This year, the 28-year-old Republican, a former UCLA Bruins running back, has significantly more money to work with — $1 million.
Most of it — 80% — came from people living outside his Santa Barbara district. And nearly $200,000 has come from donors with ties to two of the state’s largest nursing home operators.
The businessmen, Lawrence Feigen and Shlomo Rechnitz, of L.A.’s Westside, have given the maximum allowed contributions, as have members of their families and their friends and employees.
Operators of skilled nursing facilities have a big stake in congressional decisions on healthcare funding and policy. Those businesses depend on funding from Medicaid and Medicare — and, in California, Medi-Cal – and they are under constant scrutiny by government regulators and inspectors.
Fareed himself is in the medical business; he is vice president of his family’s company, ProBand Sports Industries, which makes devices to treat tennis elbow and other repetitive stress injuries. In his candidate statement on the ballot, he also describes himself as a “third-generation cattle rancher” who understands “the burdensome taxes and regulations coming out of Washington, and the implications it has on small businesses and the agricultural community along the Central Coast.”
The congressional race in Santa Barbara, where Democratic Rep. Lois Capps is retiring, pits Fareed against Democratic Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, who has raised $1.8 million. The field of five others includes Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, also a Democrat, and Republican Assemblyman K.H. “Katcho” Achadjian. The top two finishers in June will face off in November.
Feigen’s company SnF Management owns more than 35 long-term nursing facilities in California and Arizona under the name Windsor Healthcare.
Rechnitz owns more than 70 facilities and has been described as the state’s largest nursing home operator. In recent years, state and federal authorities have investigated his companies on charges including elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter.
Feigen and at least 30 of his employees, business associates, friends and family members have together contributed at least $108,000 to Fareed’s congressional campaign. Rechnitz, employees of his businesses and their family members have given at least $74,000.
Federal law caps direct donations to candidates at $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general election.
Feigen donated the maximum amount to Fareed’s campaign. Rechnitz contributed $2,700. Three Feigen family members listed as students in finance disclosures each donated $2,700.
In addition, Feigen, his family’s trust and his company donated $25,000 to New Generation, a pro-Fareed political action committee that has since disbanded. Ramat Medical, where Rechnitz is chief financial officer, donated $10,000. Feigen and his wife also donated $10,000 to another PAC set up to support Fareed.
When asked about his donations, Feigen said he and his family “like people who are honest” and not part of the political establishment. He said he knew Fareed through business connections in the medical sector. Rechnitz, through a representative, declined to speak about his contributions to Fareed’s campaign beyond an emailed statement.
“Mr. Rechnitz is a major, non-denominational, non-partisan donor who last year alone contributed to more than 1,100 institutions,” Rechnitz’s spokesperson Stefan Friedman said in the statement.
At the recent opening of his campaign’s Santa Barbara headquarters, Fareed described Feigen as “a supporter like all of our other supporters for the campaign.”
Fareed, a onetime Capitol Hill aide to a Kentucky congressman, ran for the Santa Barbara congressional seat in 2014, coming up a few hundred votes short of making it past the top-two primary to challenge Capps, the incumbent. That year, he raised about $190,000 and loaned his campaign $197,000.
Voter registration in the district, which stretches across San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. President Obama won the district by 11 points in 2012, and tea party favorite Chris Mitchum, son of the late actor Robert Mitchum, came close to ousting Capps in 2014.
Around 56% of Fareed contributors this year live outside the district, and they contributed $875,000 of his $1.08 million in donations.
About 77% of the $1.5 million that Fareed’s opponent Carbajal has raised from individual donors comes from inside the Central Coast district.
At least 90 of Fareed’s 490 donors live in West Los Angeles, in the Hancock Park, Fairfax and Mid-Wilshire neighborhoods. Supporters in the 90036 ZIP Code contributed a combined $235,000 to the candidate — nearly 25% of the money Fareed brought in since the campaign began.
Many of those Westside donors have ties to the medical industry, according to donation records filed with the FEC.
Feigen is the co-founder of privately owned SnF Management, which manages a chain of nursing facilities. He is also the chief executive of a medical device company that sells orthotic insoles, according to his company website and LinkedIn page.
Rechnitz’s facilities brought in $62 million in profits in 2013, according to a Sacramento Bee report, citing state figures.
In August, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris filed involuntary manslaughter charges against one of Rechnitz’s nursing homes, and two of its employees were also charged with dependent adult abuse. Charges against one defendant were dismissed at a hearing last month after she agreed to testify in this case. The charges against the head of nursing and the nursing home remain, and the case is pending. At another Rechnitz-owned facility in Orange County, two former employees were charged with three counts each of elder abuse and failure to report abuse. Their trial is scheduled for July.
For the Record
5:50 p.m., June 2: An earlier version of this article said charges of dependent adult abuse against one defendant were dismissed at a hearing this month. The hearing was in May.
In addition, three Rechnitz-owned facilities repeatedly failed inspections and were eventually decertified by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency spokesman said. Regulatory violations at facilities owned by Rechnitz have led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Rechnitz’s spokesman declined to comment on those cases but said the executive brought “59 nursing homes out of insolvency and currently provides life-saving care to thousands of Californians.”
‘A good guy’
West Hollywood resident Viktor Kogan and his wife each gave $2,700 to Fareed’s campaign in late October.
Asked recently about the contributions, Kogan said he could not recall donating to Fareed, adding that he had never heard of the candidate.
When shown a copy of a federal record noting his contribution, Kogan, 75, said his daughter, Ksenya Kogan, arranged the donation. She also contributed, and listed one of Feigen’s companies, SnF Management, as her employer.
Ksenya Kogan, an attorney, declined to comment about the donations except to say she had met Fareed through friends.
In nearby Hancock Park, Freda Stock gave a total of $5,400 to Fareed, but said she didn’t know anything about the candidate or his campaign. Stock said Feigen has done business with her husband and has been a family friend for “many, many years.”
Fareed’s campaign also has received donations from outside the state, including a $2,700 contribution from Chaim Feigen, a recent graduate of New York University who works for SnF Management and is registered to vote at Lawrence Feigen’s Los Angeles home. Asked about his contribution, he declined to comment.
Other donors interviewed by The Times said they had given money to Fareed’s campaign based on the advice of friends or business associates.
One of those is Denise Wilson, an executive at Ramat Medical, the West Los Angeles medical supply company where Rechnitz is chief executive. Wilson, who gave $2,700, said a group of people that she works with introduced her to Fareed’s campaign.
“They said that he was a good guy,” she said. “I couldn’t give you a definitive answer of his issues or what he stands for. They just said that he was a good, up-and-coming person to support our industry.”
Lawrence Feigen’s brother, Alan, who also works at Ramat Medical and gave $2,700, said he did not know Fareed personally. He said that a client, whom he declined to identify, had asked Ramat Medical employees to support the candidate.
Among other donors, Ken Zelden, a vice president at Harris Office Products in Van Nuys, said he gave Fareed’s campaign $2,700 because he’d “been told he is a good guy.” “I’m looking forward to meeting him,” he said.
At a recent campaign event in Santa Barbara, Fareed said donors from the healthcare industry comprise “a very prominent base of support that we are developing all over the place.”
Please read the article in its original format: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-justin-fareed
NO PICTURES PERMITTED!
JOEL LANDAU – ALLURE -JOE LANDAU – ALLURE – JOE LANDAU – ALLURE –
Dear LM –
As you know, I have an interest in seeing to it that there is better protection for the most vulnerable in our community, those to whom we owe our gratitude and respect, the elderly. I can’t help but wondering how we went from being a civilized society to one that cares so little about anything beyond our own pockets. I can’t help but point to the wealthy beneficiaries of our lack of morality as it applies to the elderly. In your comments regarding Joel Landau and Allure, a request for information and a hope that he will be taken out of the equation where the elderly are concerned, I found hope that perhaps my own loved ones would one day be redeemed, albeit posthumously.
THE ALLURE GROUP: – Enabled by Governor Cuomo and the Public Health Planning Council:
I cannot help but going back to where the cancer began vis a vis NY State Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities: namely Albany and the Public Health and Health Planning Council-appointed by Governor Cuomo. Presently much is reliant on Attorney General Schneiderman ‘s lawsuit effort to prevent Allure from buying two more facilities: the Harlem Nursing Home and the Sts Joachim & Anne Nursing Home…a situation which would have been prevented had the PHHPC & Governor Cuomo, who appoints these deleterious license enablers, been called to account for the many years of lousy management and sub-par responsibility.
If you believe as I do…and if credit is given to the reported documentation clearly showing that too many of the so-called ‘operators’ of long term care facilities in New York buy these places only to churn them, one cannot merely place the blame on Mayor de Blasio & his rabid real estate gaming malfeasance. The story began with the certification and enabling of amoral and predatory owners who should never have been allowed to obtain nursing home certification from the PHHPC in the first place.
IT ALL BEGAN IN ALBANY!
Since the indignation and moralistic baloney from Landau/Allure fly in the face of reality and takes front and center in the news, past and present they are the perfect example to reference. If one looks at the online published segment of a Feb 2016 Public Health & Health Planning Council report one can see how they got where they are:
PHHPC- PROJECT #152128-B HARLEM CENTER FOR NURSING & REHAB:
The following screen shots were taken from the above report:
BK nursing home blames Allure Group for resident deaths
A Brooklyn nursing home is blaming the Allure Group for the deaths of some of its residents, saying the landlord wrongly forced the residents out.
CABS Nursing Home in Bedford-Stuyvesant filed a lawsuit against Allure, claiming the company forced out residents soon after buying the facility in 2015, the New York Post reported. Allure’s efforts to quickly flip the property, the lawsuit alleges, led to the untimely deaths of some of CABS’ residents. The nursing home also claims that it turned down higher bids for the property because Allure, led by Joel Landau, billed itself as a company with nursing home experience.
An attorney for Allure fired back that the company never agreed “to operate a nursing home for any period of time, much less forever.”
Earlier this month, Allure was hit with another lawsuit related to CABS. Sabr Group claimed that Allure repeatedly fell behind on a $20 million loan and was trying to force the lender to buy the property at a 60 percent markup from an earlier price.
In April, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas after Allure filed demolition plans for the nursing home, with the intention of replacing it with a seven-story, 241-unit rental building.
Allure is also at the center of the Rivington House scandal. The company negotiated to have the deed restriction removed from the Lower East Side property, paving the way for the sale of the nursing home to Slate Property Group and several partners. [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel