Fraud in Ohio Home Care Industry
A Nursing home planning lawyer helps seniors to make plans to receive home health care or nursing home care when they need it. Working with an attorney to make sure you can pay for care and to research the reputation of caregivers and nursing facilities is important. Doing your research and finding the right care solutions is essential because there are many situations in which Medicaid fraud crimes are perpetrated and seniors suffer the consequences.
Just recently, the Columbus Dispatch reported on an egregious case of fraud in Ohio in which a Hilliard-area couple stole money while running a home health care agency. Some of the tactics that they used to commit Medicaid fraud resulted in seniors receiving more limited care than they should have and seniors receiving care from unqualified individuals.
Fraud in the Ohio Home Care Industry Can Affect Seniors
According to the Columbus Dispatch, a couple who was operating a home health care agency agreed to plead guilty to charges of Medicaid fraud. The couple admitted to taking money from Medicaid to help them build a luxury home valued at around $1 million. They have been charged with federal crimes for their fraud scam. The husband, who is 51, faces up to four years in prison and his 49-year-old wife could face three years of probation. The two are also subject to a requirement that they pay restitution for their fraud scheme.
The fraud scheme reportedly went on for a period of four years. During that time, the couple fabricated training records for people who they had hired to work as home health care aides for their business. The people who they had hired actually did not have the claimed work experience and did not undergo the training that they were said to have undertaken. All of this information on their qualifications was fabricated- which means that vulnerable seniors were being “cared” for by unqualified individuals.
The Ohio couple who committed the fraud also forged time sheets and billed Medicaid for services that they did not actually provide to patients. They told healthcare aides who were working for them to split up one continuous shift on their time sheet into multiple long shifts. They also told the aides to turn in blank time sheets and nursing notes. The couple then completed these time sheets with false information, making up notes and providing info on false dates and false hours of service when the aides were said to have been providing care, even though they were not.
In total, Medicaid was billed for in excess of $1 million on fraudulent Medicaid claims. Using their ill-gotten gains, the couple built a house in Brown Township in Ohio which cost around $932,400 to build. As a part of their guilty plea, the couple agreed that they would forfeit the house.
In response to the couple’s actions, an Assistant U.S. Attorney commented: “The United States finds it particularly egregious when taxpayer money designed to provide medical services for the less fortunate is being used to build lavish homes for people committing Medicaid fraud.”
The couple was found out as part of a nationwide sweep resulting in criminal charges against a total of 301 different healthcare providers, including nurses and doctors. In total, the 301 people who were caught committing fraud in the nationwide investigation had made a total of $900 million worth of false billings to Medicaid. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the wrongdoers who were involved in these schemes “targeted real people- many of them in need of significant medical care.” Unfortunately, these vulnerable people did not get that care because of the fraud perpetrated against them.
Getting Help from an Ohio Nursing Home Planning Lawyer
The Dispatch reported that this Ohio couple is just one of many in the state committing fraud. In fact, a 2014 series showed that there was “rampant growth and fraud in Ohio’s home-care industry, which isn’t licensed and has fragmented oversight.”
Seniors who are in need of care can become victims of this unrelated industry which is rife with fraud. They may end up suffering real damage if they do not receive appropriate care that they need from trained care providers. An Ohio nursing home planning lawyer should be consulted to provide these seniors with necessary care so that they can be safe and protected.
Zimmer Law Firm can help you with nursing home planning so you can make informed choices on home care and nursing care facilities. Give us a call at 513.721.1513 to find out more about how we can help.