Nursing Home Abuse – Woman, 91, Terrorized [VIDEO] – Conditions at Nursing Homes and Oversight


The following is a review of the Abington of Glenview Nursing Facility:

abington of Glenview reviews

Family sues Glenview nursing home over video of aides taunting woman, 91, with dementia; aides charged and fired

GLENVIEW, Ill. (WLS) — Two nursing home aides in north suburban Glenview have been fired and charged after a Snapchat video showed them taunting a 91-year-old woman with dementia.

Margaret Collins’ family is outraged, and taking legal action. The family’s lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in damages and alleges the nursing home, despite that video, turned a blind eye.

In the video Collins appears to be in distress, arms flailing as she pushes away a hospital gown.

“She’s waving her arms because of one reason. She doesn’t have mobility to get away. That’s the only option she has to protect herself,” said Tom Collins, her son.

Collins’ family said the great grandmother has dementia, and was known by workers at the Abington nursing home of Glenview to dislike hospital gowns.

The video of the encounter, four days before Christmas, was posted to Snapchat with the caption “Margaret hates gowns” and two laughing face emojis.

“You’re just like, this is somebody’s sick idea of entertainment?” said Joan Biebel, daughter.

The family is now suing the Abington and the two nursing assistants, Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa. Cortez and Montesa are also charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

“Margaret’s privacy was clearly violated,” said John Perconti, attorney for the family. “They had no right to have cell phones in there.”

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The Toppling of a Nursing Home Empire and the Elderly and Disabled Residents Who Suffer, Where’s the Oversight?

Image: Terri Thompson

Terri Thompson’s mother has dementia and wandered out of a locked unit through two broken doors and was found in ice and snow at 4:30 in the morning with severe frostbite.Hannah Rappleye / NBC News

A nursing home chain grows too fast and collapses, and elderly and disabled residents pay the price

By Laura Strickler, Stephanie Gosk and Shelby Hanssen

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Once a week for two years, police Lt. Jeannine Pettiford had visited the nearby nursing home where her 52-year-old cousin with cerebral palsy lived. But on their daily phone call in early May, her cousin had bad news.

“I’m getting kicked out,” he told her.

In disbelief, Pettiford asked to speak with a nurse, who told her there were rumors of closure. Her alarm rose when she visited the facility and saw nurses crying. The nursing home’s owner, Skyline Healthcare, had told its staff there was no more money.

Skyline’s four other nursing homes in Massachusetts were facing the same crisis. Funds were so short, staff had begun buying toilet paper with money from their own pockets, according to former employees. Residents and their families discovered from local newscasts they had just 30 days to find somewhere else to live.

“Nobody from the nursing home ever called me to tell me,” Pettiford said. She was angry. And, she later learned, so were many others.

At its peak, Skyline Healthcare owned or ran more than 100 facilities in 11 states, overseeing the care of more than 7,000 elderly Americans. But during the past two years, the chain has collapsed, and more than a dozen Skyline-operated nursing homes have shut their doors, throwing residents, vendors, employees and state regulators into chaos.

For more watch Stephanie Gosk tonight on “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” at 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT (or check your local NBC station).

Many homes ran out of money. Others were shut down over neglect documented in government records. Fourteen homes were forced to close permanently, displacing more than 900 residents to new facilities, sometimes hours away.

The story of Joseph Schwartz and Skyline Healthcare is one of swift expansion, alleged mismanagement and catastrophic failure. An NBC News investigation reveals the scale of the Skyline debacle, in which one man built an empire that quickly crumbled, with painful consequences for vulnerable people.

It also shows the failure of state and federal authorities to keep up with just who owns and runs America’s nursing home facilities, which house 1.3 million elderly and disabled Americans — about three-quarters of them in beds paid for by taxpayers via Medicare and Medicaid. The states are responsible for tracking ownership and conditions at nursing homes within their borders, but only the federal government can monitor the performance of firms that own or operate facilities across the nation. The allegations of negligence at a major nursing-home chain come as the Trump administration is moving to ease, not increase, accountability for the industry, reducing penalties and terminating fewer contracts with problem owners.

Schwartz, meanwhile, still has ownership stakes in 53 nursing homes, according to federal records. He has not returned multiple messages and emails requesting comment from NBC News.

“I just don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it,” said Stephen Monroe, an industry analyst of three decades who is the managing editor for the nursing home trade magazine Senior Investor. “I have no idea what that family was thinking. To go from 10 to 100 in two years with no real back office? I looked at that and said from day one, ‘Impossible.”

‘The Home Life You Crave’

A Brooklyn, N.Y.-based insurance broker and landlord, Joseph Schwartz entered the nursing home business more than 10 years ago after he sold a Florida-based insurance company.

In a 2017 deposition for a malpractice lawsuit filed by a family alleging neglect at one of his homes in Pennsylvania, Schwartz explained why he’d gotten into the industry. “”Basically, I used to do a lot of servicing in selling insurance policies to long-term care industry,” he said, “and I felt that I could, that I understand the quality care … and I will do a very good job in doing the quality care for residents.”

Image: Joseph Schwartz listed a tiny office above this New Jersey pizzeria in Wood Ridge, NJ as the location where he ran over 100 nursing homes nationwide.Joseph Schwartz listed a tiny office above this New Jersey pizzeria in Wood Ridge, New Jersey, as the location where he ran over 100 nursing homes nationwide.NBC News

He started with a half dozen homes, but after creating Skyline Healthcare he began expanding rapidly in November 2015 with the purchase of 17 homes.

Schwartz ran Skyline out of a tiny office above a New Jersey pizzeria. He was CEO, his wife Rosie co-owned most of the properties and his two sons, Michael and Louis, served as vice presidents. The company had a bare-bones website and a slogan, “Skyline: The Home Life You Crave.”

During the 2017 deposition, he said, “Skyline is an entity that is me.”

His net worth is hard to compute but real estate records show he owns over $9 million worth of real estate in the New York metropolitan area, including a gated house in Suffern, N.Y.

Within a year of his purchase of 17 nursing homes, Schwartz had taken on another 64, and by 2017 was operating more than 100.

Schwartz wouldn’t provide a number when the plaintiff’s attorney asked him repeatedly in June 2017 how many homes he ran. He confirmed it was more than five, but asked if it was more than 100, he said several times that he couldn’t recall.


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Esformes Must Forfeit Interests in Long-Term Care Companies, if Only Others Would Follow

Esformes must forfeit interest in long-term care operating companies, judge rules

Philip Esformes, the Florida assisted living and skilled nursing facility owner found guilty in April of more than 20 charges in a case that the federal government described as “the largest single criminal healthcare fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice,” must forfeit his interest in seven operating companies related to his facilities, a federal court has ruled.

The decision, issued July 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, was a denial of Esformes’ motion asking the court to acquit a jury’s verdict that the assets were forfeitable. The judge’s order applies to Esformes’ interest in the operating companies for the following assisted living or skilled nursing properties: Eden Gardens in Miami, Fair Havens Center in Miami Springs, Flamingo Park Manor in Hialeah, Harmony Health Center in Kendall, North Dade Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Miami, Nursing Center at Mercy in Miami and the now-closed Oceanside Extended Care Center in Miami Beach.

“Esformes’s operating companies gave his business a facade of legitimacy as he used them to hold bank accounts and operate the various SNFs and ALFs engaged in the elaborate money laundering and kickback scheme,” U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Hr, wrote. “Accordingly, the Court finds that there is sufficient evidence to ‘permit a reasonable jury to conclude that the Government has proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the property is subject to forfeiture.’ ”

Scola also denied Esformes’ motions seeking acquittal and a new trial.

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Skyline’s Wreckage, The US Healthcare Travesty – Help Wanted – Frank Romano Taking Care of Skyline’s Patients

Losing money and struggling to find workers, a nursing home operator feels the squeeze

Nursing assistant Rachael Moreau (right) helped resident Katherine Lapre at Brandon Woods home in Dartmouth.
Nursing assistant Rachael Moreau (right) helped resident Katherine Lapre at Brandon Woods home in Dartmouth.(JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF)

DARTMOUTH — When five Skyline nursing homes shut their doors last month, Frank Romano came to the rescue. He accepted more than three dozen old and frail residents at a pair of nursing homes he owns here and in neighboring New Bedford.

Now he’s scrambling to find nurses to care for them, along with more kitchen, laundry, and maintenance workers. As he looks for help, he’s struggling to operate the properties profitably in a Massachusetts long-term care sector that’s been losing money for years.

“They’re human beings, and I want to do the right thing,” said Romano, 76, chief executive of Essex Group Management, which owns six nursing homes and two assisted living residences. “But for every Skyline resident I took in, I’m losing $37 a day.”

Romano’s homes boast distinctive features — a Japanese koi pond and red British phone booth brighten the grounds of his Brandon Woods home here — but they face the same financial squeeze that’s weakened most of the state’s remaining 386 skilled nursing facilities.

Thirty nursing homes have shuttered in the past 18 months — and 214 since 2000 — a little noticed 35 percent shrinkage that has uprooted many of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

After a state court appointed a receiver to manage the shutdown of the five South Coast homes operated by Skyline Healthcare, residents were moved with little notice — or choice about their destination.

“They said, ‘We’re closing up shop and you’re going,’” recounted John Pine, 88, one of about 15 residents sent to Brandon Woods in Dartmouth. “Some went here, some went somewhere else. . . . They just put you where they want.”

In all, 245 residents were displaced from the five Skyline nursing homes in New Bedford, Fall River, and Dighton after their New Jersey-based operator surrendered its licenses earlier in the spring. Many of their residents are disabled or suffer from dementia, and most need help with daily activities such as getting out of bed, eating, and using the toilet.

The circumstances behind the Skyline closings are under investigation by the state attorney general. A pending lawsuit by the state of Florida accuses the company of deducting money from employee paychecks for insurance that wasn’t provided. Former employees and operators who took over Skyline homes in other states have said the company bounced checks.

John Pine recently was relocated to Brandon Woods home in Dartmouth, where he was assisted by unit manager Christine Cabral.
John Pine recently was relocated to Brandon Woods home in Dartmouth, where he was assisted by unit manager Christine Cabral.(JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF)

Its unraveling was only the latest setback for the Massachusetts nursing home industry.

Romano, a gregarious businessman who greets many of the residents and employees of his homes by name, can tick off the pressures facing operators.

They’ve gotten only small payment adjustments from MassHealth, the state Medicaid program that covers two-thirds of nursing home residents. The adjustments don’t keep pace with rising labor costs and expenses such as utilities and real estate taxes.

At the same time, employers such as Amazon, which opened a massive warehouse in Fall River two years ago, woo nursing home workers with slightly higher wages.

Romano said he can’t find enough workers to staff his properties here or in Tewksbury, Milford, and Worcester. It’s especially tough to recruit certified nursing assistants. He offers base pay of $15 an hour — plus a differential for evening and overnight shifts, along with overtime and bonuses to cover weekend shifts — but still finds it hard to compete with Amazon, which a spokeswoman said pays warehouse workers as much as $18.25 an hour.

“They’re offering higher wages, he said. “That’s where people are going.”

New federal restrictions on immigrants, who make up about 40 percent of nursing home employees, further aggravate the crisis. Early next year, the US government is set to end temporary protected status granted to Haitians who came here to work after the country’s 2010 earthquake. That means Haitian nursing home workers, including those at Romano’s homes, will be forced to return to the island.

“These are the workers who never call in sick or come in late,” said Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, a Waltham-based trade group for the state’s nursing home operators. “These are the workers we can least afford to lose.”

Nursing home operator Frank Romano is having a hard time finding employees.
Nursing home operator Frank Romano is having a hard time finding employees.(JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF)

Romano said he has taken out advertisements seeking American citizens to work at some of the jobs being vacated. “None of them even want to apply,” he said.

In response, Romano sought and received permission from Puerto Rico, a US territory, to bring 150 workers to his Massachusetts properties over the next year. They include nurses, nurse assistants, personal care aides, housekeepers, and mechanics. But to make sure they can afford to live in a high-cost state, he’ll also have to provide housing for them.

He’s counting on the state government to boost MassHealth reimbursements for nursing home residents, which would in turn increase his revenue. State lawmakers have recommended modest payment increases for the coming fiscal year, but thus far the Baker administration has budgeted no new funding.

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Health Headlines of King and Spalding – OIG and Nursing Home Results, Prevalence of Abuse and Reporting Issues

OIG Releases Audit Reports Finding High Prevalence of Nursing Home Abuse, Deficient Reporting Mechanisms

On June 12, 2019, OIG released two audit reports, A-01-17-00513 and A-01-16-00509, as part of its efforts to improve identification, reporting, and investigation of potential abuse and neglect of Medicare beneficiaries. OIG’s audits were prompted in part by investigations showing “a significant number of Medicare claims submitted for the treatment of injuries related to potential abuse and neglect.” OIG found that incidents of abuse and neglect in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) were not sufficiently tracked, reported, and investigated, and that Medicare’s diagnosis code data could help point to abuse and neglect. The audit reports follow CMS’s recent release of its five-part nursing home plan focused on improving nursing home quality.

In OIG Report A-01-17-00513, titled, “CMS Could Use Medicare Data to Identify Instances of Potential Abuse or Neglect,” OIG identified nearly 35,000 Medicare inpatient and outpatient claims (totaling approximately $100 million worth of services) from 2015 to 2017 containing one of 17 diagnosis codes that may correlate to abuse or neglect, such as potential sexual abuse or nutritional neglect. Of that group, 100 claims underwent an in-depth review.

OIG found that 94 of the 100 claims evidenced potential abuse or neglect; among them, 61 were likely associated with incidents in the beneficiaries’ home and 16 incidents occurred at others’ homes or in public settings like parks and alleys. From this 100-claim data sample, OIG estimated that 89% of the nearly 35,000 cases had underlying medical records evidencing potential abuse or neglect. OIG further estimated that 8% of those cases may have been perpetrated by a healthcare worker, among other findings.

OIG recommended that CMS “compile a complete list of diagnosis codes that indicate potential physical or sexual abuse and neglect,” “conduct periodic data extracts” of Medicare claims with one of those codes, “inform States that the extracted Medicare claims data are available to help States ensure compliance with their mandatory reporting,” and “assess the sufficiency of existing Federal requirements . . . to report suspected abuse and neglect of Medicare beneficiaries . . . .” CMS disagreed that the recommended claims data would timely assist it with addressing acute problems, but OIG “continue[d] to recommend the use of the Medicare claims data” to thwart abuse and neglect.

In OIG Report A-01-16-00509, titled, “Incidents of Potential Abuse and Neglect at Skilled Nursing Facilities Were Not Always Reported and Investigated,” OIG reviewed a set of claims of Medicare beneficiaries residing in SNFs who had emergency room visits in 2016 that resulted in one of 580 “high-risk” diagnosis codes, and whether the SNFs reported those potential instances of abuse or neglect. The audit also focused on the adequacy of CMS’s reporting and tracking of those potential instances of abuse and neglect.

Specifically, OIG pulled a sample of 256 emergency room (ER) cases from over 37,000 high-risk hospital ER claims for nearly 35,000 Medicare beneficiaries residing in SNFs in eight states in 2016. OIG worked with the State Survey Agencies (SSAs) to review the underlying medical records to determine whether the ER cases were the result of abuse or neglect in the SNF. OIG concluded that approximately one in five of the ER claims were the result of abuse or neglect. OIG also found that the SNFs “failed to report many of these incidents” to SSAs, meaning the SSAs could not conduct immediate onsite investigations. The SSAs themselves also, given the opportunity, “failed to report some findings of substantiated abuse to local law enforcement.” OIG also faulted CMS’s recording and tracking mechanisms for failing to capture all fraud and abuse incidents.

OIG recommended that CMS “take action” to ensure that such incidents are properly identified and reported by improving training for SNF staff and requiring SSAs to track all incidents and subsequent referrals to law enforcement. CMS concurred with these recommendations.

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FIGHTING BACK! Pt. 4 – State Oversight of Nursing Facilities, Do Changes in Leadership Mean Changes in Ownership?

Tioga nursing home responds to critical report

PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) – A Tioga nursing home is one of five in the state put on a list for possible increased government surveillance due to quality concerns.

Tioga Community Care Center off of Shreveport Hwy. in Tioga. | Photo Source: KALB

The Advocate reported on Tuesday that Tioga Community Care Center is on that list. The list was put out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for nursing homes. It identifies those that fail to meet certain health and safety standards. CMS is governed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

That means the Tioga Community Care Center could see more frequent inspections. And, if a facility fails to implement changes, they could lose government funding. The list got traction after two U.S. Senators asked for the information from CMS.

Tioga Community Care was added to the list after a December 2018 report said some residents were put in “immediate jeopardy” after one lost 26 pounds in nearly four months and was down to 79 pounds — and that a registered dietician recommended treatment, but it was never implemented.

Tioga community care center did email KALB and said they’re making changes. They said they’ve changed leadership and survey standards. As well as adding more corporate support, education, and monitoring.

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