A False Claims Act (FCA) suit against bankrupt nursing home provider Vanguard Healthcare LLC was filed in Tennessee federal court, alleging the company didn’t provide “the most basic and essential skilled nursing services” and misbilled Medicare and Medicaid. Prosecutors said that between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2015, patients were harmed because of Vanguard’s nonexistent, “grossly substandard,” or “worthless” care, which included staffing and supply shortages, a lack of infection control, improper medication administration and inadequate pain management.
The provider is also accused of forging signatures on preadmission forms submitted to Tennessee Medicaid. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said in a statement:
Our seniors rely on the Medicare and Medicaid programs to help care for them with dignity and respect. It is critically important that we confront nursing home operators who put their own economic gain over the needs of their residents. Operators who bill Medicare and Medicaid while failing to provide essential services will be held accountable.
The suit names the corporate entity; its units Vanguard Healthcare Services LLC, Boulevard Terrace LLC, Vanguard of Crestview LLC, Glen Oaks LLC, Imperial Gardens Health and Rehabilitation LLC, Vanguard of Memphis LLC and Vanguard of Manchester LLC; and the company’s director of operations, Mark Miller, who allegedly knew the care was substandard, but did nothing to change it. Vanguard, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in May, is accused of “chronic” shortages of staff and running low on critical medical supplies. The skilled nurses allegedly didn’t provide standard infection control, follow physician orders for medication administration and wound care, or properly manage residents’ pain. They would also use unnecessary and excessive psychotropic medications and unnecessary physical restraints, prosecutors said.
From this conduct, residents had ulcers, fell, and became dehydrated and malnourished, among other harms, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said. Vanguard Healthcare denied any wrongdoing.
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