Monthly Archives: January 2016

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Mid Sussex Times reported that Dhannajee Marottee was arrested in July 2013 following an allegation of sexual assault against a woman who was a patient at Worthing Hospital, where he worked at the time. In January 2014 he was charged with a sexual assault against a woman for an offence that occurred at Ladymead Nursing Home, Hassocks, in 2010. The female was applying for a job at the location.

Marottee, who worked in the A&E department at Worthing Hospital, was found guilty of both counts by a jury at Brighton Crown Court on November 27, and sentenced on December 16. Apparently he won’t serve any jail time though.

For the first offence where he was working at Worthing Hospital, he was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and 150 hours of unpaid work.  Who is gonna hire this guy?

For the second offence, where he was working at Ladymead Nursing Home, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, to run concurrently.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register but for only five years!

 

The Tennessean reported the arrest of Alicia D. Brooks, a nursing home technician, for identity theft and fraudulent use of a credit card after Metro police say she opened up credit cards in the name of a patient she cared for at Vancor Manor nursing home and racked up thousands of dollars on them, an affidavit shows.  Brooks was already on probation for using a dead patient’s banking card previously.

According to a criminal complaint, on Dec. 17 the victim stopped receiving mail at his home, and when the man’s family researched why, they found Brooks created several credit cards combining her name and the victim’s name, and that she also added her name to the victim’s Sears credit card. The complaint goes onto say Brooks charged more than $2,500 on cards to businesses, including Kmart and Kirkland’s.

On Dec. 22, Metro police stopped Brooks in a parking lot where she was slated to report to a probation officer. Brooks was on probation for fraudulent use of a credit card after the son of a woman who died March 23 noticed several unauthorized purchases made on his mother’s Regions Bank card several days after her death.  How in the heck did she get hired in the first place!?!

During a search of her vehicle they found mail that belonged to the victim. In a taped interview, she blamed the crimes on another person.  However, Brooks was caught on camera March 23 at the Kroger in the 800 block of Monroe Street buying groceries and gas using the Regions Bank card that had been taken from the woman’s room while she stayed at the assisted living home, court documents show.

WSBTV reported that police accuse 34-year-old nursing assistant at Indian Trail Road Nursing Home Joan Malcolm of punching resident Elizabeth Diaz in the face after the care worker came into her room on Christmas Day to change her.  Diaz has an injured eye and a broken nose which may need surgery to fix. “It’s swollen she can’t breathe through the left nose, left side. Where the impact took place,” Pedro Diaz said.

“Oh my. Happy New Year,” Pedro Diaz said after he learned the woman accused of attacking his mother in the Lilburn nursing home is now behind bars,  “You put all your trust in individuals like them and then you turn around and you’re like what do you do now?” Pedro Diaz said.

Diaz says he is working to get his mother out of the Pruitt Health Facility, even though Malcom is behind bars.

“My main concern is her well-being if it’s got to be a facility until we prepare something for her at home,” Pedro Diaz said.

McKnights’ reported that Genesis Healthcare LLC will pay $600,000 to resolve False Claims Act allegations for a skilled nursing facility in Arlington, VA. In addition to the settlement, the nursing home chain will pay for a transition consultant to assist the new operator of the skilled nursing facility for a year. This consultant will help “identify risks and opportunities for improvement in providing skilled nursing services to residents at the facility.”  The facility was sold in March 2015 and is now called Regency Care of Arlington.

Potomac Center employees were accused of failing to provide patient care activities as recorded in the resident medical record of a patient and not providing certain care activities consistent with a physician order, the Department of Justice, Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.

The Post and Courier reported the settlement involving South Carolina and PharMerica to settle allegations of health care fraud.  The federal government contends it illegally promoted the use of Aranesp, a drug used to treat anemia that is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Amgen. PharMerica has agreed to pay the federal government $2.5 million. PharMerica is a pharmacy that serves hundreds of nursing homes across the country.

All told, the federal government will recover more than $31 million from PharMerica, Amgen and another pharmacy related to this alleged scheme.

Public health insurance programs shouldn’t foot the bill for drug company schemes that manipulate doctors and patients to maximize profits,” U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said in a prepared statement about the settlement. “This case is an excellent example of how the government can work together with private whistleblowers to recover money for taxpayers.”

In a separate October settlement, PharMerica agreed to pay the government $9.25 million to settle allegations that it solicited and received kickbacks from another drug manufacturer in exchange for promoting a drug that was approved for bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

 

Public Justice wrote a fantastic blog explaining the Ninth Circuit’s decision to reverse a district court order sealing court records in a case where Chrysler wanted documents related to a safety defect with the electronic system in some of its cars.  See Velasco Opinion.

It’s the same story, over and over again: Corporation conceals deadly defect. Someone dies, and their family sues. Corporation settles quietly. Court records are sealed. Nobody finds out. More people are hurt; more people sue; more settlements are reached; more records are sealed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This is how GM was able to hide an ignition switch defect that killed over a hundred people for more than a decade. It’s how Remington concealed evidence that its most popular rifle can fire without anyone pulling the trigger.

In Velasco v. Chrysler, the Ninth Circuit held that there is a strong presumption that any court record that is “more than tangentially related to the merits of a case” should be open to the public.   And it rejected Chrysler’s argument that this presumption should apply only to court records that result in a final determination on the merits of the case.

This is a big deal. It makes the settle-and-conceal model of handling corporate misconduct much more difficult to pull off: Corporations can no longer hope to prevent public access to court records simply by settling a case before a court gets a chance to make a final determination.

Velasco itself is the perfect example. It’s a class action alleging that Chrysler concealed a dangerous safety defect in the power system of (possibly millions of) its cars—a defect that could cause a vehicle to stop without warning while driving full-speed on the highway. The plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction motion arguing that this defect is so dangerous that the court should require Chrysler to warn its drivers immediately. The district court denied the motion and sealed most of the evidence the plaintiffs submitted. (For more on the defect, the case, and the sealed court records, check out this blog post.)

Representing the Center for Auto Safety, Public Justice moved to intervene in the case to unseal the court records. The district court denied our motion, primarily because it accepted Chrysler’s argument that the strong presumption of public access to court records only applies to records that result in a final determination on the merits of a case—ordinarily, preliminary injunction motions don’t fit that bill. The district court stated that we could revisit the issue once there was a final determination, at which point the court would “subject” Chrysler’s secrecy claims “to significantly more scrutiny.”

But that time will never come. The case settled before there could be any final determination. Thanks to the Ninth Circuit’s decision, though, Chrysler can’t simply settle its way out of disclosure. If it wants the court records to remain sealed, it will now have to prove that there are compelling reasons for secrecy sufficient to overcome the strong presumption that the records should be open to the public—a very high bar. This is a huge victory for transparency, accountability, and public safety.  

And it’s one of several Public Justice has achieved in the past year. Whether it’s guns that fire without anyone pulling the trigger, highway guardrails that could kill you, or a predatory lending scheme that preys on vulnerable consumers, Public Justice has repeatedly fought against corporations using the courts to conceal their misdeeds—and won.

Here’s the upshot:  the Ninth Circuit held that there is a strong presumption that the public may access any court record that is more than tangentially related to the merits of a case.  It rejected Chrysler’s argument–and previous Ninth Circuit language suggesting–that the presumption of openness applies much more narrowly only to court records that could result in a final determination on the merits of a case (i.e. motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment).  The upshot of the decision is that it’s harder for corporations (and other defendants) who are sued for misconduct to hide their misdeeds simply by settling any lawsuits before the court can ever reach a final determination on the merits, and then getting the court to seal the records.   So, for example, for more than a decade, GM was able to hide the fact that there was a defect in its cars that could cause the airbags to fail in a crash–a defect that killed over a hundred people–because any time it was sued, it settled and got the court to seal the records.

The Washington Post reported on structured settlements and the predatory purchasing of those structured settlements. Unlike traditional settlements, which are paid out in one sum, structured settlements dispense the payout in portions over a lifetime to protect vulnerable people from immediately spending it all. Since 1975, insurance firms have committed an estimated $350 billion to these agreements, spawning a secondary predatory market in which companies compete to buy payments for a smaller amount of upfront cash.

Andrew Larsen, one of the nation’s foremost experts on structured settlements, called the profit margins “egregious.” “If you look at what is considered a fair profit margin in other industries, I don’t think anyone is making these terms,” said Larsen, former president of the National Structured Settlements Trade Association.

Such deals, industry advocates say, get desperate people the money they need for emergencies and big expenses, such as home purchases. But they also expose sellers to the risk that they will exchange lifetimes’ worth of income for pittances.

 

 

James H. Faust was employed by Falling Spring Nursing Home, but resigned on May 11. The regional director of operations came to the home with intentions to fire Faust, but he resigned first.  Faust is now accused of stealing more than $10,000 while he worked there.  Faust is charged with 23 counts of theft — one felony and the remainder misdemeanors.

Beverly Fry, regional director of operations for Mid-Atlantic Health Care, the company that owns the nursing home, began looking around Faust’s former office and found things that piqued her interest, according to court documents. On May 19, Fry received a letter from F&M Trust that was a notice of an address change, and found that the new address was Faust’s home address on Turnberry Drive.  Fry began to look into the interactions Faust had with their Falling Springs Nursing Center Charities account, and found that he was on it and made 21 transactions that were either point of sale, ATM withdrawal or checks from the account. Faust was promptly taken off the account. The day after Faust’s termination, the regional director found that a withdrawal of $280 was made from the account.

On May 21, Faust was contacted by the regional director regarding the transactions, according to court documents. Faust admitted to having an ATM card to the account and said it had been a long time since he used it. When the regional director confronted Faust about the account being accessed seven days prior, he said he had pulled money out to give to the activities director. When the regional director told Faust she would speak with the activities director, Faust remained silent, according to court documents.  On June 30, Faust sent the regional director an email about making restitution for the money he had stolen, while also trying to negotiate a lower balance, according to court documents.

 

 

McKnight’s had an article discussing a new study that shows Maryland’s for-profit nursing home chains rank lowest in family-reported care quality ratings.  See new study.  Results of the study were published in the January issue of Medical Care.

Maryland’s independently-owned nonprofit facilities had the highest overall rating at 8.9, with small nonprofit chains coming in second with a rating of 8.6. Independent for-profit facilities had an 8.5 overall rating.  Facilities that were part of for-profit chains had the three lowest ratings among nursing home types, with small, medium and large for-profit chains bringing in  ratings of 8.2, 7.9 and 8.0, respectively.

To study the link between nursing home chain size and profit status, researchers collected consumer reports and survey data from 2007 to 2010 for every non-government operated nursing home in the state. Consumer-reported data included overall quality of care, recommendation of the facility, staff performance, meals, physical environment and personal rights.

Ratings for individual factors like recommendation rate, staff communication and care quality followed a similar pattern, with lower consumer ratings in facilities that were part of a for-profit chain, researchers said.

Previous studies have linked for-profit long-term care facilities with poorer quality than their government-owned or nonprofit counterparts. A study released in October found for-profit facilities to have significantly higher mortality rates and hospital admissions.

The New York Times reported that in new guidelines, the Obama administration says doctors and hospitals cannot require patients to state a reason for requesting their records, and cannot deny access out of a general concern that patients might be upset by the information.  The Obama administration is making it easier for patients to get access to their own medical records, telling doctors and hospitals that in most cases they must provide copies of these records within 30 days of receiving a request.  Federal officials say they receive large numbers of complaints from consumers frustrated in trying to exercise their right to obtain copies of their own medical records.

Under the new guidelines, a health care provider cannot require patients to pick up their records in person if they ask that the records be sent by mail or email. A health care provider cannot deny a request for access to health information because a patient has failed to pay medical bills. A doctor or a hospital may charge a fee to cover the cost of copying, but cannot charge for the cost of searching for data and retrieving it.