An Erlanger, Kentucky nursing home will improve its care to residents, pay the federal government $350,000 and report its care improvements to federal officials after settling a lawsuit over patient care.
Villaspring Health Care Center and its parent company, Carespring Health Care Management, will improve care at Villaspring and show federal officials the improvements for three years under the settlement, which officials say is the first of its kind in the state of Kentucky.
The federal government sued Villaspring and Carespring in 2011, accusing the 140-bed nursing home of providing “services that were worthless” and that resulted in the deaths of five residents.
The suit sought the reimbursement of Medicare and Medicaid dollars from Villaspring and Carespring.
Carespring Vice President Kim Majick said in a statement Monda:
“Although we have always believed the lawsuit against us was unwarranted, it is in the best interest of Villaspring, its employees and residents to settle this matter and move on; we have agreed to disagree on this matter,” Majick said. “Villaspring has consistently provided high-quality care to the residents of Northern Kentucky, achieving four- and five-star ratings from the regulators, and looks forward to continuing that care in the future.”
Federal prosecutors said the lawsuit was the first in Kentucky to allege that a nursing home violated the False Claims Act when it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by submitting bills for reimbursement for poor resident care and could have faced penalties between $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim and had to repay Medicare and Medicaid claims in three times the amount of the government’s loss.
Villaspring and Carespring will pay the government $350,000 under the settlement. Villaspring and Carespring will also retain an independent compliance consultant to review the nursing home’s existing compliance program and its quality of care.
Majick said in her statement that the families of current and future residents “should have absolute assurance that their loved ones come first and that the quality of care that they have come to know and expect from Villaspring will continue.”
In the lawsuit filed in July 2011, federal authorities detailed the care of six residents between 2004 and 2008. Five died. The lawsuit claimed Medicaid paid $61,921 and Medicare paid $34,021 for services never received.
The lawsuit said the nursing home didn’t follow physicians’ orders, neglected to treat pressure wounds and didn’t monitor blood sugar levels of diabetic residents. The lawsuit also accused Villaspring of not having enough registered nurses on duty to care for residents.
The most recent survey from the Kentucky Department of Health and Human Services in 2012 showed no deficiencies.