This is only one instance of nursing home abuse which is replicated in so many nursing homes all over the states.
The owner of Nursing Home cheated the government and neglected the residents. These are some of the deplorable conditions found in the nursing homes he maintained: inadequate food; little air conditioning or heat; leaking roof to the extent that barrels and plastic sheets were used to catch rain water; piling up of trash in dumpsters; and presence of flies, rodents, rampant mold and mildews.
These were the horrible conditions that elderly residents of three Georgia nursing homes endured for several years.
The owner of these homes was the primary culprit who has been the recipient of more than $32.9 million in payments from Medicare and Medicaid for residents’ care; however, in his greed, he elected to pocket much of the money instead. But in the end, crime does not pay.
Earlier this month, George Dayln Houser was finally convicted in Atlanta for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. Houser’s accomplice and wife, Rhonda Washington Houser, pled guilty last December.
Houser responsibility to receive Medicare and Medicaid payments was to provide his residents with a safe and clean physical environment, nutritional meals, medical care, and other assistance. But it was evident that he had no intention of fulfilling his responsibilities. There was a series of continued complaints from the residents, family members, nursing home staffers, and vendors hired to provide services.
In response to the complaints, FBI’s Atlanta office—in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation started working on the case. Investigators gathered evidences which were later introduced at the trial showing that the services Houser provided to residents were so deficient that the judge determined them worthless. It was the first time ever that a defendant was federally convicted at trial for submitting payment claims for worthless services.
Other deficiencies in the homes presented included:
1. Inadequate staffing as Houser failed to maintain a nursing staff sufficient to take proper care of the residents. Staffing shortages started after Houser began writing bad checks to his employees, causing many to resign. He let insurance lapse for non-payment, leaving many with large unpaid medical bills.
2.Failure to pay vendors: Houser didn’t pay food suppliers or providers of pharmacy and clinical laboratory services, medical waste disposal, trash disposal, and nursing supplies. Kind-hearted employees often used their own money to buy milk, bread, and other groceries so residents would not starve. They also brought in their own nursing and cleaning supplies and washed residents’ laundry in commercial laundromats or even in their own homes.
And while his residents and his employees were suffering, Houser and his wife were spending their ill-gotten Medicare and Medicaid payments on hotel & real estate investments, new homes, vacations, luxury cars, new furniture, and nannies for their child. Houser even gave money to an ex-wife…paying her a nursing home salary (even though she never worked there) and buying her a million-dollar home in Atlanta.
Brian Lamkin, Atlanta Special Agent in Charge said that the level of greed and lack of compassion for others that was seen in this case reflect the very reason why the FBI, in working with its many and varied law enforcement partners, dedicates vast investigative resources to combat health care fraud.
In the end, justice was fulfilled, the greedy couple was convicted and all three nursing homes were eventually shut down by the state, and residents moved into better living quarters to get the care and compassion they deserve.
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