Prosecutors have a chance to send a powerful message that nursing home abuse will not be tolerated, nor will the government let nursing homes get away with profiting from neglect.
Bowling Green, KY (PRWEB) August 02, 2011
Federal prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Kentucky nursing home, alleging they defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by billing for services provided to residents that were so bad they were worthless.
According to the complaint, posted by Courthouse News Service, Villaspring Health Care Center and Rehabilitation of Erlanger failed to provide or provided inadequate care to elderly residents, resulting in several deaths. Then the nursing home’s owners submitted bills to Medicare and Medicaid, seeking and receiving thousands of dollars in reimbursement for the substandard care, prosecutors claim.
The case is U.S. v. Villaspring Health Care Center Inc., d/b/a Villaspring of Erlanger Health Care Center and Rehabilitation; Carespring Health Care Management, LLC; and Barry N. Bortz. (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, 3:11-cv-00043-DCR).
“This is the first case of its kind in Kentucky, and an important one,” says Bowling Green attorney J. Marshall Hughes.
His Kentucky law firm, Hughes & Coleman, handles personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits involving elder abuse. The firm has offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and Louisville.
“Prosecutors have a chance to send a powerful message that nursing home abuse will not be tolerated, nor will the government let nursing homes get away with profiting from neglect,” Hughes says.
The federal lawsuit says that Villaspring did not meet its requirements to employ “sufficient nursing staff” to care for residents. This resulted in failures to treat pressure sores and administer medications properly, the prosecutors say.
The complaint also alleges that the Kentucky nursing home failed to provide proper nutrition or update residents’ care plans to account for pressure sores or other changes in their conditions.
“Sadly, the elderly are often the victims of abuse and neglect, both in domestic settings and in institutional settings like nursing homes,” says Bowling Green lawyer Lee Coleman, who practices elder law with Hughes.
National data on the number of cases of nursing home and elder neglect are spotty and often go unreported, Coleman says.
“That’s why it’s important to have attorneys and government officials on the constant lookout for instances of abuse and neglect,” Coleman says. “Using the courts, we can hold liable parties accountable for their negligence and make sure that older citizens and their families don’t endure the kind of pain that so many people suffer in silence every year.”
It’s important for people to know that both state and federal laws are in place to protect nursing home residents, adds Hughes.
“Kentucky statutes specifically define the rights of residents and the duties of nursing home facilities to provide care that respects the dignity, safety and mental and physical wellbeing of elder adults,” he explains. “The state also has other adult protection laws in place for vulnerable populations.
“These laws help families seek justice when they suspect a loved one is being abused,” Hughes says.
Nationwide, President Barack Obama and Congress passed the Elder Justice Act and Patient Safety Abuse Protection Act in 2010 to provide further protections for elders, he adds.
Both attorneys emphasize that it’s crucial for cases of suspected neglect and abuse to be reported, either to state officials or to elder law attorneys.
“We all have a duty to protect those who may not be able to defend themselves from harm, and to make sure that those who neglect nursing home residents are held accountable,” Coleman says. “No one should benefit from another’s suffering.”
About Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers
Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, with Kentucky offices in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown and Louisville, is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as the families who care deeply about their elderly loved ones.
Partners J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman are accomplished injury attorneys and advocates for people who have suffered from nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as auto accidents, brain injury, drug injury, defective products, environmental dangers, fire and burn injury, insurance disputes, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, Social Security disability, stock fraud, truck accident injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.
For more information contact Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers at (800) 489-6000 or use the firm's online contact form.
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