Nursing Home Abuse and Fraud Exposed by Nurses in Qui Tam Whistleblower Case

Medicare Fraud and Medicaid Fraud Alleged by Nurses at Nursing Homes

Two nurses disturbed by nursing home abuse and neglect of nursing home residents–who apparently were subjected to gross nursing home malpractice–are the “whistleblowers” in a nursing home False Claims Act qui tam lawsuit in Missouri, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis has recently announced it has joined. The whistleblower suit alleges that the nursing home operator defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by providing care that was essentially “worthless” to the nursing home patients, according to news reports.

In this “quality of care” whistleblower case, the nurses alleged that many nursing home residents suffered from dehydration, weight loss, and preventable bed sores that eventually led to amputations; that nursing home staffing was cut to unacceptable levels to save money; and that other nurses misused patients’ medicines, which were not locked securely, according to reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Louis saw enough merit in the allegations after investigating that it is pursuing its own case.

The case reportedly has been filed against Cathedral Rock Corp., an operator of nursing homes; Kent Harrington, president and CEO; and five nursing home facilities: Spring Place Care Center and McLaran Care Center in St. Louis, Oak Forest Skilled Care in Ballwin, Cathedral Gardens Care Center in north St. Louis County and Blanchette Place Care Center in St. Charles.

Nursing home abuse and neglect presents one of the most appalling types of cases imaginable. Our firm has seen similar abuses in bringing cases in which we have represented distraught family members of an elderly relative who, for example, has been allowed to develop bedsores so badly that amputations of limbs have been necessary.

We applaud nurses and other health care professionals for their courage and decency in speaking out to stop such abuses, and we hope that these Missouri nurses receive a substantial share of the money recovered by the government in this whistleblower case–they deserve it. We also commend the members of the Office of U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway in St. Louis for pursuing this case.