According to CNBC, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) uncovered a $1 Billion scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. As a consequence of this investigation the owner of more than 30 Miami-area nursing homes, Philip Esformes, was indicted by a federal grand jury in July of 2016. The DOJ also accused a physician’s assistant and hospital administrator for their role in stealing and laundering money from the federal government since 2009. The depth and breadth of the fraudulent scheme shows how elders and the infirm are at the mercy of unscrupulous health care providers. Miami personal injury attorneys who have experience recovering damages for injuries and abuse in nursing homes will fight to protect your loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
The DOJ alleges that Esformes, with assistance from the other individuals involved, bilked the faltering health care system to fund a ridiculously lavish lifestyle. All at the expense of some of our most vulnerable people in our community: the elderly and the poor. Prosecutors alleged that Esformes subjected his residents to unnecessary medical treatments so that he could bill Medicare for the treatment. Additionally, and perhaps most egregiously, Esformes allegedly drugged some of his patients with prescription narcotics. The over prescription of narcotics renders the patient incapable of weaning themselves off of the drug. As a result, the patient remained bound to the facility because they were addicted to the painkilling drugs. Prosecutors referred to this abuse as a “cycle of fraud.”
Local law enforcement authorities are aware of the problem. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which represents the Miami-area, indicated that the South Florida area is replete with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Consequently, law enforcement is paying close attention to facilities in the hopes of preventing this type of wide-spread fraud in the future.
For Esformes, who has denied his guilt in this matter, this is not the first brush with the law. In 2006, Esformes reportedly entered into a settlement agreement to resolve a dispute over excessive Medicare billing with the DOJ. Esformes paid $15.4 million to resolve the litigation that alleged Esformes and his cohorts unnecessarily admitted patients to hospitals from his assisted living facilities. Esformes and his father, Morris, entered into another settlement agreement with the U.S. government relating to kickback from the sale of a pharmacy they partially owned to a pharmaceutical company. Now, the authorities allege the settlements never deterred or prevented Esformes’ criminal behavior. Instead, he grew more sophisticated to avoid detection. His efforts appear to have failed.
News of abuse of this magnitude should anger relatives of South Florida residents in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Allegations such as those described above show that the people to whom we entrust the care of our relatives should be carefully scrutinized. Without anyone knowing, your loved one could be subjected to unnecessary medical treatment or even drugged, all to pad the pockets of the person running the facility.
Call If You Suspect Your Loved One Is Abused In A Nursing Home
South Florida personal injury attorneys Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have years of experience fighting for the rights of their clients who were abused in a nursing home or other medical facility. Call Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today at 877-475-2905 or visit our website at www.injuryattorneyfla.com to schedule a free consultation.
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