Four people connected to the shuttered Brian Center nursing home in Scott County, Virginia, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on racketeering and healthcare fraud charges.
The indictment is the result of a joint investigation carried out by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigations, the Virginia Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, TImesNews.net wrote.
The Brian Center’s former owner was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail and healthcare fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of healthcare fraud, 55 counts of mail fraud, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, TimesNews.net reported.
The former director of nursing operations was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail and healthcare fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to make false statements.
Each racketeering charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to TimesNews.net.
According to Tuesday’s indictment, the four carried out an elaborate scheme aimed at defrauding Medicare and Virginia Medicaid by operating the Brian Center without adequate staff or supplies, which violates federal nursing facility laws, TimesNews.net reported.
The group is also accused of defrauding center vendors and employees. Authorities say employees had money taken from their paychecks for benefits that were not provided, according to TimesNews.net.
Residents of the 90-bed Brian Center nursing home allegedly lived in unsanitary and unclean conditions and were subjected to poor nutrition, bed sores and other forms of neglect. Residents often went without basic hygiene, including bathing, toileting, cleaning, turning and feeding, TimesNews.net reported.
Nursing home residents have a legal right to live in an environment free of physical abuse and neglect. Care centers are required to meet minimum state and federal legislative standards of care to prevent nursing home injury and abuse.
Nursing homes that don’t abide by federal requirements for long-term care facilities as instructed under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR Part 483) cannot participate in Medicare or Medicaid programs. Under this “Residents’ Bill of Rights,” certain staffing levels are required to ensure residents’ physical, nutritional, medical and emotional needs are met.
The Brian Center, which made a 2010 list of the worst nursing homes in Virginia, had a long history of compliance problems. The home also once operated as Continuum Care, TimesNews.net reported.
The center closed in 2012 after the federal government took action to terminate the home’s ability to accept Medicare and Medicaid payments, according to TimesNews.net.