Miami Nursing Home Chain Cited for Negligent Care
The nursing home chain, Plaza Health Network, was ordered by a judge to pay $21.5 million to settle a case for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. According to the Miami Herald, Plaza Health repeatedly violated state and federal regulations by providing negligent or inadequate care for its patients. The business operates seven nursing homes in Miami-Dade County, some of which have been hit with considerable state and local fines in recent years.
According to records kept by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, the agencies had found 191 deficiencies in Plaza Health nursing homes since 2012. These deficiencies included an incident where staff members allowed a patient’s wound to fester for three weeks without proper treatment and improper installation of a catheter. In total the company received about $25,000 in state and federal fines due to improper care at three of its Miami locations.
The settlement for the lawsuit stems from a whistleblower case where the company was sued by its ex-chief financial officer for paying kickbacks to doctors that referred patients to its facilities. This allowed Plaza Health to submit $130 million in false claims for physical therapy, thus defrauding the federal government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Examples of Negligent Care at Plaza Health Network Locations
One of the locations, Aventura Plaza, has already been cited with 14 deficiencies in 2015 and was required to pay almost $1,900 in fines for three of the deficiencies. One of these pertained to Plaza Health failing to report possible physical abuse to a patient by a member of the company’s nursing staff. The 14 deficiencies collectively are more than twice the national average of 6.8 for nursing homes.
Another one of Plaza Health’s locations in North Miami, Arch Plaza Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, was cited with 24 deficiencies since 2012. One of the citations was for failing to promptly report a hand injury of a patient who was later taken to the hospital. Another citation was for failing to keep their pill crushers clean. Apparently dirt and rust had built up inside the pill crushers, which could have endangered the health of the residents at Arch Plaza.
Employees interviewed by the Miami Herald said that deficient staffing, low pay and low employee morale were all contributing factors to the deficiencies at the nursing home. Some of the longtime nursing assistant staff members who have worked at Plaza Health for decades still make as little as $11.50 an hour.
Call a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Nursing home abuse and neglect is one of the fastest growing problems facing the elderly, and due to increasing life expectancies, seniors are spending great portions of their lives in these homes. If you or a loved one suspects nursing home abuse or neglect in Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach, let our experienced lawyers at the Pendas Law Firm help. Contact the office today to discuss your options.