Warning: The following article includes descriptions of extreme elder mistreatment. Please reach out for help if you or someone you know has experienced abuse.
A new lawsuit is being filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Kenneth Rozenberg and Daryl Hagler, co-owners of Centers Health Care (CHC), a skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and senior care services corporation headquartered in the Bronx.
The lawsuit, filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court at the end of June, alleges that the business partners misappropriated more than $83 million in Medicaid and Medicare funds for their own financial benefit.
Meanwhile, residents of the facilities that should have been supported by these funds were left to suffer unimaginable conditions that resulted in pain, illness, infection, severe injury, and even fatality.
The four facilities named in the recent lawsuit are:
- Buffalo Center (Buffalo, NY)
- Beth Abraham Center (Bronx, NY)
- Holliswood Center (Queens, NY)
- Martine Center (White Plains, NY)
However, due to the large number of facilities operated under the corporate title of Centers Health Care—more than 40 locations across New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—there may be more nursing homes that were affected.
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What Happened at the Four New York Nursing Homes Named in the Lawsuit?
Nursing home residents at the facilities in New York faced conditions no person should ever have to bear.
Understaffing, the hiring of unqualified staff members, and critical underfunding left the nursing homes with little hope of adequately meeting the needs of the hundreds of residents under their care.
It is alleged that the centers were not only deprived of resources, but were required to pay exorbitant rental fees to external property companies owned by Daryl Hagler—thus forcing the facilities into enormous debt that slashed the quality of care that could be provided to residents.
There is evidence that residents were severely malnourished, dehydrated, and left to sit in their own waste for hours. Wounds were left untreated, leading to highly preventable infections that acutely compromised patients’ quality of life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 400 residents of these four facilities alone lost their lives to the virus.
One resident of the Beth Abraham Center sustained a broken hip while attempting to reach the restroom alone—after her repeated calls for help went unanswered. The daughter of a Buffalo Center resident experienced a child’s worst nightmare when she visited her mother and found her unconscious, learning later that she was suffering an untreated brain bleed after falling out of bed.
Residents were discovered in various stages of injury, illness, deteriorated personal hygiene, and even sepsis. The toenails of one resident were so overgrown that it became difficult to walk or put on shoes. In one of the worst cases of neglect, a Martine Center resident died after his bed sores were ignored and allowed to progress into a critical infection.
What Happened to the $83M Stolen From New York Nursing Homes?
Documents dating back a decade ago to 2013 show a calculated structure of fraudulent transactions and devious business schemes that funneled money away from nursing home facilities and into the pockets of Rozenberg and Hagler, their families, and their business associates.
Attorney General James is quoted as saying, “Rather than honor their legal duty to residents to provide the highest possible quality of life, Centers leadership and their associates seized every opportunity to put personal profit over resident care.”
And a press release from the Attorney General’s office stated that “Rozenberg and Hagler controlled the nursing homes using a partnership model that turned nursing homes into money-making machines.”
The Buffalo Center serves as just one example of the kind of practices that Rozenberg and Hagler implemented for their own gain. In 2015, the Center reported an annual rent of $600,000 to the Department of Health. However, a new lease signed by Rozenberg a few months later named Hagler as the landlord. Under the new lease agreement, the facility was required to pay a yearly rent of $2 million.
While we still don’t know the full extent of the business decisions that were made in the interest of “personal profit,” it is clear that Kenneth Rozenberg and particularly Daryl Hagler were heavy-handed investors in a number of high-dollar enterprises outside of their roles as CHC co-owners. Known investments include the $26.4 million purchase of a former cigar factory, the $43 million purchase of a site for residential construction, the $63 million purchase of a hotel, and a failed Brooklyn development deal that required Hagler to demonstrate proof of funds in the $100 million-dollar range.
What Will Happen Next?
With the recently filed lawsuit, Attorney General James seeks to enact massive change immediately at the four New York nursing homes named as sites with unacceptable living conditions for residents. She is further pursuing justice by aiming to recover the government funds wrongfully taken from the facilities by corporate management.
The terms of the lawsuit list action items such as increasing staffing levels at the four facilities, barring new resident admittance until appropriate staff-to-resident ratios have been met, instituting a financial and healthcare monitoring program, and requiring the repayment of embezzled financial assets.
A National Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm To Advocate for Your Family
Stories like the ones above would go undiscovered without the hard work of civil litigators. Nursing home abuse attorneys have the vital role of holding care facility operators accountable for the harm caused to residents.
When a company paid to provide a safe and supportive living environment for vulnerable adults violates the trust that residents’ loved ones have placed in it, those responsible must be brought forward, and their actions stopped. And those who have been hurt must have a means for recovering what has been taken from them against their will.
There are a multitude of laws at the local, state, and federal levels that guarantee the rights of nursing home residents and seek to protect against behaviors such as those alleged to have been perpetrated by Centers Health Care executives Kenneth Rozenberg and Daryl Hagler.
And yet, tragically, nursing home abuse lawyers like us are in high demand across the country. The National Council on Aging estimates that at least five million older adults are abused every year, and the annual loss by elderly victims of financial exploitation is over $36.5 billion a year.
So, for now, we continue to fight a battle we hope someday will cease to exist.
Our elder rights team at Thomas Law Offices is comprised of nationally recognized nursing home abuse lawyers in Chicago and throughout the United States. We have the benefit of both national resources and locally based advocates. Our entire team has devoted their careers to standing up for families harmed by profit-minded businesses that take advantage of our community members most in need of protection.
If you or a family member was harmed in a nursing home, we are the law firm standing at the ready to help you.
Our legal case consultations are always 100% free. Should we mutually agree to move forward together, we will not receive any attorney’s fees until we have won your case for you. Our contingency fee pay model guarantees equal access to high-quality legal counsel for all families.