In the last few weeks, government officials have filed criminal and civil actions against nursing home companies in California and one in New York. Details from both cases are below:
Watsonville Nursing Center & Watsonville Post-Acute Center
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in California has filed civil charges against two homes in Watsonville, California. The complaint alleges the following:
- Staff at the homes submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services that were “substandard” or “worthless”, and
- From 2007-12, staff “persistently and severely over-medicated elderly and vulnerable residents of the nursing homes.”
The complaint notes that the California Department of Public Health issued 16 citations to the homes for over-medication and poor care, after following up on the complaints.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, to conduct the investigation.
These two homes were formerly known as the County Villa homes. The Watsonville Nursing Center used to be called the Country Villa Watsonville East Nursing Center and the Watsonville Post-Acute Center used to be called the Country Villa Watconsille West Nursing and Rehab Center.
Bayview Nursing & Rehab Center, Long Island, NY
Authorities in Long Island, New York, filed criminal charges against a licensed practical nurse who administrated morphine to a patient instead of the prescribed muscle relaxant.
The nurse’s attorney said the veteran nurse simply made a mistake, saying, “Doctors and nurses make errors on occasion and I would say she’s not guilty of any intentional act.”
The problem is after what could very well be a mistake, the LPN tried to cover it up. The resident is a 46-year-old who is afflicted with spina bifida. After being given the morphine, the patient became unconscious; she was given an anti-overdose drug and had to stay in the hospital for five days.
The nurse, who worked at the Bayview Nursing & Rehab Center in Long Island, allegedly later falsified documents to cover up her mistake. The Center discovered the incident on its own and reported it to authorities.
The nurse was indicted on felony charges that included:
- Endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person
- Second degree endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person
- Willful violation of the public health laws
- First degree falsifying business records.
If convicted, she could face up to four years in prison.