Pennsylvania Nursing Home Owner Gets 4- 12 Year by BrenelMyers


									                                  N     E W S               R    E L E A S E
                                    ELIOT SPITZER
                           M YO C A        F R U D OO N T R G U NI
                       N E W E D IR K ISDT A T EA A T T C R N E Y O LE N E RTA L

 CONTACT: KEVIN RYAN                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
          212-417-5256                                 THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 2004

              Patients Denied Basic Dental Care and Rehabilitative Therapies

        Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced that a Pennsylvania nursing home owner has
been sentenced to four to twelve years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from New York
taxpayers by fraudulently billing for services never provided to New York State Medicaid patients
residing at his facility and for improperly obtaining payments from New York for services Pennsylvania
was already reimbursing.

        David Arnold, of 127 Elm Street in Athens, Pennsylvania, and his corporation, Heritage Nursing
Home, Inc., were convicted after a two-week bench trial this past January of one count of Grand Larceny
in the First Degree and three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree.

        Appearing today before Acting Albany County Court Judge Stephen Sirkin, Arnold was
sentenced to four to twelve years in prison on the charge of Grand Larceny in the First Degree and
concurrent terms of three to nine years on each count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. He was
also ordered to make $1 million in restitution to the Medicaid program. Heritage Nursing Home, Inc.,
was sentenced to an unconditional discharge and fined $10,000.

        “We have a special responsibility to protect our more defenseless citizens from the greed of
unscrupulous nursing home owners who callously fail to deliver needed health services,” said Spitzer.
“The sentence imposed today sends a clear message: nursing home owners who abandon and neglect
their patients for personal gain will go to jail.”

        Heritage Nursing Home, a 145-bed facility, is located at 200 South Main Street in Athens, PA.
An overwhelming majority of its residents are New York patients. The evidence at trial established that,
from 1991 through 2000, Arnold and Heritage Nursing Home failed to deliver needed services to
hundreds of New York Medicaid recipients who resided in the home. These services included basic
dental treatment and occupational and speech therapies for which Arnold and the Home billed the New
York State Medicaid program millions of dollars.

       Evidence introduced at trial established that patients were jeopardized by Arnold’s conduct. The
evidence showed that:

       <       hundreds of patients never saw a dentist during their time at Heritage, even
               though New York paid Heritage to deliver routine dental care to patients.

       <       patients with swallowing problems were fed with a “turkey-baster-like”
               syringe because it was “quicker than feeding them with a spoon.”

                                                                                                Page 2

       <       numerous patients with swallowing problems that went untreated developed
               serious conditions, including aspiration pneumonia, which may have been
               preventable had Heritage delivered the speech therapy that New York paid
               the Home to deliver.

        <      other patients developed contractures, a stiffening of joints and muscles that
               is properly addressed with occupational therapy. These contractures became
               so severe that residents lost the ability to feed and dress themselves because
               they could not move their hands.

        <      between 1991 and 1997, no speech or occupational therapists were on staff
               at Heritage or on contract. Between 1991 and 2000, there was no dentist
               providing any routine examinations or care at the Home.

         Today’s case is part of the Attorney General’s statewide Nursing Home Initiative, which
continues to examine the responsibility of nursing home owners and executives for conditions leading
to poor patient care and abuse. The Initiative includes the investigation of out-of-state nursing homes
that provide care to New York residents.

        Attorney General Spitzer thanked the New York State Department of Health, the Pennsylvania
Departments of Public Welfare and Health, and the Pennsylvania MFCU for their assistance and
cooperation during the investigation.

        The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Patrick E. Lupinetti, Director
of the Special Projects Unit of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and Jay Speers.
Assisting in the investigation were Supervising Special Auditor Investigator Michael P. LaCasse, Senior
Special Auditor Investigator Gina Donizetti, Senior Special Investigator James Spellman, and Special
Investigator Cecile Liotard of the Special Projects Unit.


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