Federal Health Care Fraud Indictment Includes Two Pennsylvania Nursing Homes

Accused of falsifying records, five Individuals from Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center and Mt. Lebanon Rehab and Wellness Center have been charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. healthcare system.

According to a Tribune Review article, five high-level individuals from two Pennsylvania nursing homes have been indicted on health care fraud charges. Charged with conspiracy, fraud, obstruction, and falsification of records related to health care matters as well as falsification of records in a federal investigation, Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and Mt. Lebanon Rehabilitation and Wellness Center have had the following owners/administrators named in a federal indictment: owner and CEO Sam Halper, 39; Brighton Director of Nursing Eva Hamilton, 35; Michelle Romeo, former regional manager with oversight over nurses at the facilities, 46; and Johnna Haller, Director of Social Services 41.

According to the article, the Federal Health Care Fraud indictment accuses Halper of insisting that staffing levels be kept low at Brighton Rehab in order to reduce costs, despite the negative health impact this directive would have on Brighton residents. Understaffing at nursing homes is a type of nursing home malpractice that often results in nursing home falls, bedsores, medication errors, and even death, which regretfully necessitates the involvement of a wrongful death attorney.

The indictment also describes two criminal schemes allegedly employed by both nursing homes related to falsifying records, an action that amounts to nursing home malpractice. The alleged schemes are as follows:

  • Staffing/Time Sheet Falsification Scheme—In order to appear in compliance with staffing requirements as per Medicare and Medicaid standards, the following actions constituting nursing home malpractice were employed:
    • Getting nurses to clock in for shifts they didn’t work
    • Having nurses not clock out during their lunch hour
    • Listing facility managers in care logs as having given direct patient care when no care was given

Employees who cooperated with the above scheme were paid bonuses.

  • Patient Treatment/Medical Record Falsification Scheme—In order to receive a greater reimbursement than owed to the nursing homes, senior administrators at the facilities engaged in the following behavior amounting to nursing home malpractice:
    • Asking care professionals to augment patient files with false ailments to help the nursing homes receive more federal care funding

While both Brighton and Mt. Lebanon have both previously been troubled with investigations and legal challenges, the recent indictments do not include any that are related to the covid-19 outbreaks and deaths that have led some families to seek the council of a wrongful death attorney. At Brighton Rehab over 75 residents and employees died from covid-19, making the facility one of the deadliest nursing homes in the country during the pandemic.

Fighting Nursing Home Malpractice

The Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives is required to meet certain health and safety standards, including upholding staffing requirements and ensuring that such dangerous incidents of nursing home malpractice like falsifying records do not occur. If you have concerns about the quality of care in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home, or if your loved one is the victim of neglect, abuse, fraud, or wrongful death, you need to contact a nursing home malpractice or wrongful death attorney immediately. Brian P. Murphy has been litigating nursing home malpractice cases for years. As a wrongful death attorney, he is committed to ensuring nursing homes take responsibility for their actions. Contact nursing home malpractice attorney Brian P. Murphy today discover your legal rights and options.