Nursing home owner charged for alleged neglect and fraud

A hidden-camera investigation into an Ohio nursing home allegedly revealed multiple abuses of authority. The alleged negligent activities have led to multiple separate felony indictments against the facility's owner and might motivate readers to consider carefully who they choose to trust with care for their elders.

An investigation was opened after authorities began receiving complaints regarding Zanesville's Autumn Health Care from the family members of the facility's residents. Investigators placed hidden cameras within the premises with the family members' consent to uncover the possible illegal activities. The footage allegedly revealed failure by some employees to meet the nutritional, personal and medical needs of residents. These employees allegedly created falsified documentation in an effort to cover up the bad care.

The owner of the facility was indicted on the first-degree felony of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which would bear a mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison. He was also indicted on 17 counts of forgery and two counts of Medicaid fraud. He is facing a total of 39 criminal charges, and the facility itself has been indicted for 16 alleged offenses. None of the staff members have yet been indicted.

Workers in care facilities may engage in and attempt to hide negligent behavior under pressure from superiors to meet outside approval. Such dishonesty can cause loved ones to suffer serious illness or death due to malnutrition, poor hygiene and faulty medical treatment. In cases where relatives suspect that nursing home abuse is being enabled through carelessness and active concealment of wrongdoing, the person or people who own a site and the facility as an overall business entity might be held accountable for financial compensation and damages

Source: Coshocton Tribune, "Autumn Healthcare owner charged with Medicaid fraud, forgery," Jessie Balmert, June 28, 2014

Source: McKnight's, "Hidden cameras result in criminal charges against Ohio nursing home owner, including substandard care and forgery", Tim Mullaney, June 30, 2014

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