When one thinks of a nursing home, they generally think of the kind of facility where the aged are sent to live out their final days. However, while nursing homes do provide this kind of care, many nursing homes also specialize in rehabilitation. Patients often need rehabilitation after strokes or falls that break bones such as hips. Medicare and Medicaid may pay for some of these rehabilitation benefits, but one nursing home claimed falsely that a man’s government benefits did not. Naples News reports on the story of how a Florida nursing home chain is facing fraud and neglect charges.
Billy Seigler was relying on Governor’s Creek Health and Rehabilitation to provide him with rehabilitation to address the issue of a broken pelvis and right leg. Seigler and family members were told that his government benefits did not cover the therapy.
That was a lie. The state of Florida paid the nursing home to provide Seigler with his care, including the much-needed rehabilitation.
According to a 2011 Whistleblower lawsuit that was initiated by a former nurse, Seigler’s story was not an isolated incident. It was routine at Governor’s Creek.
Last year’s trial didn’t concentrate on the mistreatment or neglect of patients by Governor’s Creek parent company, Consulate Health Care. Instead, it focused on the nursing homes bilking government programs by distorting the care that was provided to the patients. The facilities also overcharged for medically unnecessary treatments.
A Florida jury issued a $347.8 million-dollar judgment against Consulate, a decision that is currently being contested. Executives for the nursing home chain argue that such a verdict will force them to close 77 nursing homes in Florida.
A federal judge overturned the jury’s verdict in January. He reasoned that nothing that Consulate was accused of doing ever triggered action by state or federal regulators.