The Pittsburgh Tribune Review had an article about Scott Colver, the owner/operator of nursing homes who agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed he approved dozens of fraudulent billings, including nearly $500,000 to pay for his Maryland residence.  In the lawsuit, Mid-Atlantic charged Colver engaged in "elaborate and extensive fraud … in order to covertly obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in payment from his employer."

The settlement states Scott Colver agreed to repay $700,000 "in expenditures that were stolen" from Mid-Atlantic Health Care. He paid another $400,000 to settle claims that he had improperly diverted Mid-Atlantic business to his company.

Colver owns Colonial Senior Living of Western Pennsylvania, which began operating the Village of Pennwood in Wilkinsburg about a year ago.  The settlement and the criminal charges were news to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, which issued an operating license to Colonial.

Records of the Maryland civil suit show that Colver invoked the Fifth Amendment 88 times when he was deposed by an attorney for Mid-Atlantic on July 1.  Under questioning by Mid-Atlantic attorney Ellen B. Flynn, Colver refused to respond to questions about $460,745 in payments made by the Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to a company controlled by the man who sold Colver a house for $490,000 in 2005.

Colver invoked his right against self-incrimination when asked about another $227,366 in payments made to a company owned by the former property owner’s girlfriend. The suit charged that he even had the nursing home billed for landscaping services and the purchase of a washer and dryer for his personal residence.

Records show Colver’s license as a nursing home administrator was suspended in Virginia after he was charged with being abusive to a patient and then improperly discharging him. 

 

The Sun Sentinel reported the jury verdict against Renova Health Center, and its parent company, Universal Health Management.  Plaintiff Mary Stewart was compensated $1.3 million for damages related to her left foot being amputated after an 18-day stay at Renova where her foot became infested with maggots.

Stewart said life in the nursing home in October 2004 wasn’t pleasant.  Stewart felt pain from the stitches and staples used to heal her wounds, but didn’t suspect that something was wrong until it was too late.  She trusted the nurses to do their job. She noted that nurses didn’t check on her every day or give her medication.

"I just figured that’s how they were," Stewart said. "I didn’t complain because I thought I would come out whole."

But things just got worse during her last week.  Instead of cleaning her wound, nursing home employees wrapped more bandages.  A doctor who later treated Stewart said he found hundreds of live maggots jumping out of her body when he unwrapped the bandages.

Attorneys for Renova argued in court that employees provided an "adequate level of care" and then blamed the maggots on post-hurricane conditions led to a larger fly population.

 

 

The Denver Channel of ABC News (CALL7) reported that Woodridge Park Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center is the focus of a criminal investigation by Commerce City Police after one of the patients died.  The injuries to Angela Guerra’s face were serious and staff at Woodridge blamed it on Guerra running into a wall.  Really?

A hospital social worker told the family, "The wounds on her face do not match up to the story [Woodridge Park] is saying, of her hitting a wall."  Guerra was in and out of the hospital and died a week or so later.

For six months, CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia has been investigating Woodridge and its director, Angela Aragon-Herrera for serious issues involving lack of supervision and care of patients. The health department has now cited the facility, once again, for not properly monitoring a vulnerable patient. The department is also removing future funding for new patients.

 

Hernanado Today out of Tampa reported the guilty plea and probation of nursing home operator Gloria Olson.  The accused elderly abuser pleaded guilty keeping her out of prison. In spite of the spirited objections from the daughter of one of her victims, Olson will only serve three years probation, pay $8,000 in restitution and will be barred from running a nursing home.

Olson was indicted in April on charges of owning or operating an assisted living facility without a license and elderly neglect.   An investigation began in January 2010 when an anonymous caller contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families hotline. Detectives eventually learned Olson had housed up to five patients at her home without a license.

A former employee told investigators that animals would run loose inside the house and patients were fed only small portions of food and water twice per day.  One of the patients also was locked inside her bedroom, according to the investigation.

A daughter of one of the victims told Hernando Today that Olson took away her mother’s walker and tied her down to the bed. When she learned of the neglect and abuse, she removed her from Olson’s home, but her health already had begun to deteriorate rapidly, she said.

 

Seattle PI had an article about a nursing home lawsuit against Burien Nursing and Rehabilitation Center by Patrick Caron, a resident who lost his leg becuas eof the facility’s poor fall prevention.  Carson had a history of falling, balance issues, and difficulty in getting up unassisted.  Carson is schizophrenic and has been institutionalized for much of his life. A state report investigating the home showed that Carson has complex medical diagnoses of dementia and heart disease.

The complaint said the home was supposed to prevent falls and equip Carson with an automatic personal sensor to notify staff that he needed assistance. But in October of 2009, when he fell out of bed, no alarm sounded.  A doctor had prescribed an alarm for Carson after the burns, raising the question if an alarm had been on Carson in the first place.  The staff had moved Carson’s bed dangerously close to a baseboard heater, about three feet away, and Carson suffered third-degree burns on his left leg and right toes leading to the loss of his leg.

Lynda Baldwin, the home’s administrator, dubiously suggested that Carson has peripheral neuropathy which prevented him from feeling any pain.  She said staff had been doing rounds when Carson fell, and found him within 15 minutes of his fall.

Taxpayers via DHHS have so far paid $116,000 for treatment of Carson’s injuries. The complaint said his lifetime cost of care is estimated at $1.4 million.   Why should Medicaid or tax payers pay for the care when the nursing home caused the injury?

The state cited the home for failure to ensure a safe environment after Carson’s fall. A state investigator also said Carson made facial expressions communicating pain during a wound check.  The facility had been cited four times for failing to respond to patients’ needs in a timely manner.

 

Celina Jacobson of the website Masters in Healthcare sent us an interesting article to share called 10 Common Medical Myths That Are Completely False.  We thought it was worth sharing:

For hundreds of years, humans have been programmed to believe things that were downright wrong. The same goes for medicine. Medicine has been, and continues to be, poorly understood, which has given way to several medical myths. A lack of knowledge and motivation to conduct further research has allowed people to come up with their own theories about the human body and how it works. We may not know everything about the body or completely understand its functions, but we do know that these 10 common medical myths are completely false.

1.The Flu Shot Can Give You the Flu: Despite many people’s beliefs, the flu shot does not infect you with the virus. In fact, the influenza viruses in a flu shot are inactivated, or killed, and they cannot cause an infection. Some people experience soreness or redness near the injection site after vaccination, but it does not cause flu illness. If someone does get flu-like symptoms after being vaccinated it’s generally because of a couple of reasons. First, they may have been exposed to one of the influenza viruses before getting vaccinated or before the vaccine takes effect. Second, they may have been infected by a different type of virus or non-flu virus, such as rhinovirus or a respiratory illness that are not protected by the vaccine. Most other flu-like symptoms are experienced among the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

2.Swallowed Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years: The truth can be hard to swallow, but you’ll be happy to know that your childhood friends were wrong about gum staying in your stomach for seven years. We should all know better than to underestimate the power of the digestive system. When gum is swallowed, the body breaks it down just like every other food you ingest. During the digestion process, the body extracts materials that it can use and sends the rest out in the stool. Although the body cannot digest the synthetic ingredients of gum, it still passes normally from the stomach, small intestine and into the colon. Even though chewing gum is meant to be chewed, it’s perfectly fine to swallow it if need be.

3.Chocolate and Greasy Foods Cause Acne: Contrary to many beliefs, chocolate and greasy foods do not cause acne. Acne is caused by three main factors: overproduction of oil, also called sebum, irregular shedding of dead skin cells that cause an irritation of the hair follicles, and a buildup of bacteria. Although no one should go overboard on eating chocolate or greasy meals, there is no scientific link to diet and acne.

4.Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis: When doctors took a crack at disproving this myth, they found little to no truth behind it. The act of cracking your knuckles may sound bad to the ears, but it does not cause arthritis. Every time you crack your knuckles, you stretch the capsule that covers each joint and lower the pressure inside the joint, which creates a vacuum effect by causing the gasses that were previously dissolved in the capsule fluid to make a bubble and pop. While cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis, it has been linked to ligament injury, discoloration of the tendons and reduced grip strength.

5.Cold Weather Can Give You a Cold : This one couldn’t be more false. Cold weather alone does not cause people to catch colds – you have to contract the virus from an infected person to get one. Colds are more common during the winter months because people are generally indoors during this time and the viruses can spread more easily. In fact, cold viruses tend to survive better in the spring, summer and early fall months because humidity levels are high. So until you swap germs with a sick person, you won’t get a cold from wet hair, cold temperatures or going hatless outside.

6.You Have to Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Before You Can Swim: Despite your mother’s warning, there is no scientific proof that swimming right after a meal is bad for you. It was commonly believed that people should refrain from swimming 30 minutes after eating because blood flows to your digestive tract and limits the blood needed to move your arm and leg muscles when swimming. Scientists have dispelled this myth, noting that while the body does use extra blood during digestion, it does not use enough to prevent your arms and legs from functioning properly. If anything, you may experience slight abdominal cramping if you swim right after eating.

7.You Lose Most of Your Body Heat Through Your Head: The common belief that people lose most body heat through their head is all in their head. Even though you do lose about 10 percent of body heat through your head, it is not the main exit. Body heat is lost through any and all parts of the body that are uncovered in cold temperatures. The myth likely goes back to a flawed military study from the 1950s that tested the loss of body heat when soldiers were exposed to extremely cold conditions. The volunteers experienced rapid heat loss in their heads, but the experiment was flawed because their head was the only part unclothed. Regardless of the myth, it’s a good idea to keep your head and most body parts covered in cold temperatures to stay warm, but know that you aren’t going to turn into an icicle without a hat.

8.Eating Turkey Makes You Sleepy: Just because you’re ready for a nap after eating a large Thanksgiving feast doesn’t mean the turkey is the culprit. The myth claims that turkey makes you sleepy because it contains a nutrient called tryptophan, which is used by the body to make sleep-related serotonin. Tryptophan is a natural occurring amino acid that is obtained from food protein, but turkey is just one of many sources of this essential acid. There are several other amino acids in turkey, but tryptophan is less abundant. It takes a while for these amino acids to circulate through the bloodstream and increase brain serotonin in the brain. A more plausible cause of post-turkey dinner drowsiness is the fact that you’ve eaten more in one sitting than you’re probably used to, and it takes a great deal of energy to digest all that food, therefore making you more sleepy.

9.We Only Use 10 Percent of Our Brains: Whoever believes that people only use 10 percent of their brains may not have a brain. I’m only kidding, but the truth is humans actually use every part of the brain and its always active. Even when you’re resting or thinking, at least 10 percent of the brain is in use. Every part of the brain has a specific function and multiple portions are being used at the same time to perform daily activities, such as breathing, making dinner and driving a car. Even if all parts of the brain aren’t firing neurons and communicating at the exact same time, you can be certain that the human brain is being worked 24/7.

10.Eating Late at Night Makes You Gain Weight: Fear not, late-night snackers, the myth about gaining weight from eating late at night are just plain false. Sure, you probably aren’t going to go run off that bowl of ice cream or bag of popcorn before bedtime, but it’s not going to make you balloon up overnight either. Over the years, scientists have conducted several studies to dispel this myth and results show that eating late at night does not increase one’s chance of gaining weight more than any other time of the day. However, it’s important to note that late-night snacking after you’ve consumed your normal caloric intake during the day may cause weight gain and should be avoided.
 

KVAL reported the arrest of Robert Price, a nursing home employee, for sexually abusing one of  female residents of Valley West Health Care Center in Eugene, Oregon.

According to court documents, Price had sexual contact with a woman who can’t give consent because she is "mentally defective, mentally incapacitated and physically helpless."

Price pleaded not guilty to first degree sex abuse on Dec. 30. His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 27.  First degree sex abuse is a Class B felony and Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

 

Kansas City Business Journal reported that Jeffrey Phillips, a businessman in health care services, pleaded guilty to evading $4.8 million in payroll taxes for several companies he owned.  Phillips admitted to failing to pay taxes between 2001 and 2005.  During that time, he failed to make federal income, Medicare and Social Security taxes tied to 13 limited liability corporations he owned.

Those companies included:

• JP Holdings LLC in Shawnee, which was a shareholder entity for other businesses.

• Citadel Holdings LLC, which operated an unnamed nursing home in St. Joseph.

• Citadel Partners LLC, which provided employees to the St. Joseph nursing home.

• Rainmakers LLC, a management company.

• Elk Manor LLC, a provider of management services to a Moline, Kan., nursing home.

• LTC-ES, a payroll company for nursing homes.

• LVCO LLC, a staffing and management services company for an unnamed nursing home in Leavenworth.

• Bladen Foods LLC, a meat processing plant in El Dorado.

• Lush Farms LLC, a show-cattle breeder on 80 acres in McLouth, Kan., a small city north of Lawrence.

• ViaCare Home Health LLC, a home health care company.

• Elf Support Services LLC, an in-home nursing company in Emporia.

• Midwest Nursing Home Investors LLC, a staffing company for in-home nursing services.

• Jewell Healthcare LLC, which provides staffing services to nursing facilities.

Phillips is set for sentencing on March 1. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, $250,000 in fines and a restitution order.

 

 

The Montgomery Advertiser reported that Marsha Kim Knighten, a employee of South Haven Health and Rehabilitation Center, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $20,000 while serving as the facility’s business office manager.  She admitted that she forged the signature of another employee on facility checks and then deposited the checks into her personal account.   Knighten pleaded guilty to 12 counts of second-degree forgery and one count of first-degree theft of property.  She faces one to 10 years in prison on each of the forgery charges and two to 20 years on the theft conviction.
 

 

The Salem News had an article about the sentencing of two employees of Blossom Nursing Center outside Salem who were placed on probation for 5 years and ordered to pay back money they stole from funds belonging to residents. Angela Rozeski and Kimberly Drzal entered guilty pleas in August to prosecutor’s information for single counts of theft, a fifth-degree felony. 

According to court documents, the thefts took place from April 3, 2009 to April 8, 2009 from funds belonging to residents.