Department of Justice Investigating ManorCare Nursing Home Chain

mother_and_son_holding_handsCan you imagine a nursing home putting its frail, dying residents through medically unnecessary rehab therapy? And doing it just so that the nursing home could bill Medicare in an effort to increase its profits? It’s hard to believe that kind of callousness and nursing home fraud goes on in places that we trust to care for our loved ones. But this type of overbilling is just one of the serious charges against Toledo-based nursing home chain ManorCare. The chain operates facilities around the country under the Heartland and Arden Courts brands.

A former employee, an occupational therapist, brought the lawsuit that catalyzed the government’s involvement. The lawsuit cites an example where ManorCare prescribed hospice care for an 85-year-old, “medically fragile” resident. Yet the patient received only 100 days of therapy — which is exactly the number of therapy days that Medicare reimburses.

The DOJ accuses this national nursing home company of regularly pushing its residents into the higher tier of rehabilitation services regardless of their needs. Its sharp increase in reimbursement rates is suspicious. In 2006 ManorCare billed 39% of residents at Medicare’s top reimbursement rate. But in just three years that number doubled to 80%.

The Department of Justice has just joined and taken control of this nursing home fraud lawsuit. Let’s hope that this litigation provides some answers and maybe some accountability for nursing homes, both here in Ohio and around the nation.

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