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.

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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.

May the Schwartz, no the Shvantze – Not be the Skyline Nursing Care for you….

Review Care Website, click here.

How Can This Happen?

The above is a small sampling of Joseph Schwartz’s nursing homes and the “star ratings” applied to them. Click the link beneath the image to learn more about each one.

We took a look at some of the homes with 5-star ratings (Highland Manor in Ilinois as an example) and found it a bit puzzling that there were no scores at all in a number of fairly significant areas. This rather curious result lends itself to the question regarding how accurate these scores really are and if they can be reliably reviewed for a family considering placing a family member in this facility.

To review this data click here.

Consider the following question:

How does the government grading system give a nursing home with 35 “substantiated” complaints (Asperian Care Oak Lawn) 4 stars? They were substantiated claims.

How is a nursing home with 35 “substantiated” complaints not fined, compelled to rectify the situation, compelled to provide some sort of justice to families? The complaints take up the span of 8 pages online. It is worth noting, however, that the complaints only run until February of 2016. It is unclear what has happened since and if this information is updated.

Regardless, why is the owner of a nursing home with 35 complaints allowed to open another nursing home? Again, to reiterate, this site may not have been updated to reflect improvements. The complaints run until 2016. But, then, where is the updated information available. Where is the oversight?

The chart posted above speaks for itself. It is a tiny example of the travesty. Yes… he has nursing homes with 5 starts; but if you can’t trust the 4-star rating system (given the complaints that seem to have been ignored) can you really trust the 5 stars?

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

Another Ring in the Circus – Life Insurance on the Living and…Dead… Patients, Covid-19?

Lawsuit filed for, among other things, misrepresentations

[UPDATED 9.10.20]

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT NURSING HOME OWNERS AND MANAGERS ARE COLLECTING ON NEWLY PLACED LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES FOR THEIR PATIENTS WHO ARE ALREADY DEAD? WHERE IS THE INSURANCE COMMISSION ON THIS?

In the lawsuit against Louis Schwartz and his partner Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum and others, Paragraph 76 alleges:

“Defendants have also engaged in unconscionable consumer practices by intentionally suppressing or delaying the reporting of resident deaths to relevant authorities, family members, authorized representative and/or life insurance companies, intentionally withholding and refusing to disclose the vital information to family members and other authorized representatives, and concealing bodies of recently deceased residents, with the intent that said third parties, including the members of the Class and Plaintiff, rely upon their deceptive and misleading conduct in connection with the promotion of the Facilities’ services.

As a point of full disclosure, if Schwartz and Scheinbaum were not storing bodies without reporting deaths; and if they were the beneficiaries of life insurance policies taken out on living patients, they were acting within legal parameters. This is industry standard.

It is our opinion, and the point of the article that follows, that we believe that the long-term care industry needs to be changed. There needs to be oversight. Families need guarantees that the last days, weeks months, years of the life of their loved ones will include some quality of life, humanity, decency and dignity. Covid-19, and every other failure in the nursing home industry should not be an excuse to rob people of their humanity.

This is not the first time we have heard about nursing homes and rehabilitation centers and the trafficking in human life with the prized death benefits waiting at the end of the rainbow. Death benefits are touted as an obviously cost-effective way to provide for long term care. We believe that should change.

Have the experts in the field of elder-care really considered the implications?

A fictitious applicant for life insurance versus the Nursing and Rehabilitation Resident:

In the State of New York, for example, a 45 year-old athletic and fit person goes through an arduous process to obtain life insurance including, but not limited to, medical screenings, blood tests, drug tests, urine tests, signing every manner of HIPAA regulated waiver and allowing insurance companies to delve excruciatingly deeply into past and present, including but not limited to history of family and relatives, including all manner of questions, excluding the style of underwear he or she wears and quality of sex life. That run-on sentence was intended and should be read out loud in a single breath.

And even those last two questions might at this juncture seem unsurprising for underwriters to ask. This fictitious person is a non-risk. He or she exercises regularly. He or she eats healthy. He or she is employed and married and has a family history of longevity.

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

A Gem of a Philosophy – The Granny Killer Immunity Provisions and 52 Dead in a Miami Nursing Home – Covid-19

COVID-19 turned their Miami Springs nursing home into a death trap. The virus killed 52.

After the Miami Springs nursing home Fair Havens Center locked down in March, Maria Garcia would still drive 50 miles a day round trip to talk to her esposo through a window.

COVID-19 was sweeping through the nation, and Maria was worried. But her husband, Jose Garcia, better known as “Cheo,” was fine as far as she could tell. Cheo was a jokester and would play tricks on her, like pretending to be asleep, to lighten the mood.

Then in late April, a private laboratory tested all the residents. The day the results came back, the nursing home reported 86 new positive cases. By the end of August, COVID-19 had claimed 52 residents.

Cheo, 78, was among them, his death dropping the curtain on more than 50 years of marriage to Maria.

What happened at Fair Havens seemed sudden and shocking to family members on the outside. But confidential data viewed by the Miami Herald, May inspection reports and interviews with several staffers shed considerable light on the events that took place behind the facility’s closed doors, leading it to have the second-highest virus death toll in Florida.

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