August 12, 2020
A considerable number of Nursing Home companies are being sued for Medicare Fraud after receiving more than $300 million in coronavirus relief payments. The accusations against the facilities include putting elderly residents into unnecessary therapy services and delaying patients’ release to obtain higher Medicare payments.
All the for-profit care providers that are being indicted have faced accusations of Medicare fraud and kickbacks, labor violations or widespread failures in patient care on the past and still received hundreds of millions of dollars in “no strings attached” coronavirus relief aid meant to cover shortfalls and expenses during the pandemic, a Washington Post analysis of federal spending discovered.
According to the Health and Human Services (HHS):
- A government press release said the agency distributed $175 billion through the Provider Relief Fund aimed to help health care services, including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) such as Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities. Included in the fund was a targeted Nursing Home distribution of $4.9 billion and about $2.7 million in general distribution payments.
- Each SNF received a fixed allocation of $50,000, plus a distribution of $2,500 per bed. All certified SNFs with six or more certified beds were eligible for this targeted distribution.
- The average distribution was $315,000, with some of the more prominent, for-profit facilities receiving $3 million or more.
- HHS said in guidance to the industry, the money did “not need to be specific to providing care for possible or actual coronavirus patients.”
- Providers were permitted to use the grants for a range of expenses, including health insurance, rent or mortgage payments, and equipment lease payments.
- There was no formal financial assessment of Nursing Homes and their parent companies before distributing the payments.
- Nursing Home recipients had to agree that they will only use Provider Relief Fund payments for permissible purposes, and agree to comply with future government audit and reporting requirements.
The Washington Post report analyzed more than 2,000 homes and suggested that for-profit owners of large nursing home chains were mostly the recipients, many with the most shameful and damaging quality ratings. Although The Post could not independently verify how the relief payments were spent, elder care advocates say the federal money will instead be used to pad personal pocketbooks and skip out on supporting frontline workers and resident needs during such a disastrous time.
Here at Gharibian Law, we acknowledge that the coronavirus is a merciless pathogen that has brought indefinable suffering to every elder care facility in the U.S., but that fact should not be used to shield nursing homes from accountability.
If you or someone you love is caught in a possible case of Medical Malpractice, Neglect or Nursing Home Abuse, we welcome your call to have a legal consultation to see if we can help you with your case. Contact us at 888-288-0091 or through our website.