Medford, NY - June 22, 2016 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a $28 million settlement of a civil lawsuit that claimed the owners of Medford Multicare Center for Living, Inc. (“Medford”) located in Medford, New York looted the corporation and committed fraud and illegality in operating a business.
The civil lawsuits claims were based on a history of criminal conduct by employees of the nursing home, staffing and service cuts and diversion of Medicaid funds to themselves and their controlled entities. The assurance of discontinuance provides that the settlement funds, which will be administered by an Independent Financial Monitor, will in part be used to establish a “Resident Care Fund” to fund care recommendations by the Independent Operator. That fund will provide the much needed reforms and improvements in the delivery of care and services to Medford’s elderly and frail residents. In addition, ten million dollars will be returned to the Medicaid program. The Medford corporation was also sentenced today for its role in the cover-up of a patient death in 2012.
“Today we have taken significant steps to ensure residents at Medford receive necessary and proper care, and that the tragic events of 2012 are never repeated,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Nothing is more important than securing the safety of those in nursing home facilities, yet, as alleged in our complaint, Medford owners continued to line their pockets with millions in public funding while Medford cut staffing, services and supervision, shirking the duty of caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens. This settlement sends a clear message that those who profit from Medicaid at the expense of nursing home residents will be held accountable.”
The settlement is designed to significantly improve the care and services provided to the residents of Medford, and to ensure the facility’s compliance with applicable law and regulations. This settlement requires Medford’s owners to:
- Retain an Independent Operator to manage the care and compliance of the facility for a period of five years;
- Implement the quality of care reforms and direct care improvements recommended by the Independent Operator;
- Hire full time nursing staff for the facility with appropriate supervision by skilled registered nursing supervisors and to maintain these staffing levels for a period of seven years thus reducing reliance on agency nursing staff;
- Implement continuous and ongoing training in delivering appropriate, safe and timely care to the residents;
- Hire a full-time permanent Compliance and Risk Management Officer to oversee a robust compliance program;
- Establish the Medford Resident Care Fund with a total of $9.1 million dollars to finance the quality of care reforms and improvements recommended by the Independent Operator;
- Hire an Independent Financial Monitor to administer the Resident Care Fund; and
- Return over $10 million in restitution to the Medicaid Program.
Today, Medford the corporation was also sentenced in connection with its guilty plea to Attempted Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a Class A misdemeanor, in connection with the cover-up by its administrator, David Fielding, of the circumstances of the 2012 death of a 72 year old resident who was at the facility for what was supposed to be short-term rehabilitation. New York State Supreme Court Justice John B. Collins, who oversaw the trial of the three nurses and two respiratory therapists who were convicted of causing and covering up the October 26, 2012 death of Aurelia Rios, fined the corporation $10,000.00.
At a dual jury trial conducted last summer before Justice Collins, one jury, Jury A, found Kethlie Joseph 63, of Brentwood, guilty of Criminally Negligent Homicide, a Class E Felony, for causing the October 26, 2012 death of Aurelia Rios. Jury A also found Joseph guilty of Wilful Violation of Health Laws, a Class A misdemeanor, for failing to immediately report that Mrs. Rio’s death was the result of neglect, as required by the New York State Public Health Law. Justice Collins sentenced Joseph to nine months in jail and three years’ probation.
The second jury found Marianne Fassino, Kimberly Lappe, Christine Boylan and Victoria Caldwell guilty of multiple counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a Class E felony, Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, a Class A misdemeanor, and several counts of Wilful Violation of Health Laws. The four defendants received jail time ranging from nine months to 45 days, and five years’ probation.
Three former Medford aides were also sentenced in May 2016 after they pled guilty to misdemeanor charges arising from the same incident.
The former administrator of the home, David Fielding, also pled guilty to two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and Wilful Violation of Health Laws. Fielding was sentenced on November 16, 2016.
The criminal case was handled by Special Assistants Attorney General Veronica Bindrim-MacDevitt and Peter Zadek, under the supervision of Hauppauge Regional Director, Jane Zwirn -Turkin. The investigation was conducted by Senior Special Investigators Dawn Scandaliato and Regina Hogan, and Karen Patterson, RN, Confidential Medical Analyst with the assistance of Supervising Investigator Greg Muroff and Deputy Chief Investigator Kenneth Morgan. Thomas O’Hanlon is the Downstate Chief of Criminal Investigations.
The civil case was handled by Special Assistants Attorney General Sally G. Blinken and David Abrams. Forensic audit work was performed by Milan Shah, Principal Auditor Investigator, Joanna-Joy Volo, Director of Interagency Communication, and Theresa White, Principal Auditor Investigator.
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.