New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that a Pennsylvania nursing home owner has been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from New York
taxpayers by fraudulently billing for services never provided to New York State Medicaid patients residing at his facility and for improperly obtaining payments from New York for services Pennsylvania was already reimbursing.
David Arnold, of Athens, Pennsylvania, and his corporation, Heritage Nursing Home Inc., were convicted after a two-week bench trial this past January of one count of Grand Larceny
in the First Degree and three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree.
Appearing before Acting Albany County Court Judge Stephen Sirkin, Arnold was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison on the charge of Grand Larceny in the First Degree and concurrent terms of three to nine years on each count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. He was also ordered to make $1 million in restitution to the Medicaid program. Heritage Nursing Home Inc.,
was sentenced to an unconditional discharge and fined $10,000.
The evidence at trial reportedly established that, from 1991 through 2000, Arnold and Heritage Nursing Home failed to deliver needed services to hundreds of New York Medicaid recipients who resided in the home. These services included basic dental treatment and occupational and speech therapies for which Arnold and the Home billed the New York State Medicaid program millions of dollars.
Evidence introduced at trial reportedly established that patients were jeopardized by Arnold’s conduct. The evidence was reported to have showed that:
*Hundreds of patients never saw a dentist during their time at Heritage, even though New York paid Heritage to deliver routine dental care to patients.
*Patients with swallowing problems were fed with a “turkey-baster-like” syringe because it was “quicker than feeding them with a spoon.”
*Numerous patients with swallowing problems that went untreated developed serious conditions, including aspiration pneumonia, which may have been preventable had Heritage delivered the speech therapy that New York paid the Home to deliver.
*Other patients developed contractures, a stiffening of joints and muscles that is properly addressed with occupational therapy. These contractures became so severe that residents lost the ability to feed and dress themselves because they could not move their hands.
*Between 1991 and 1997, no speech or occupational therapists were on staff at Heritage or on contract. Between 1991 and 2000, there was no dentist providing any routine examinations or care at the Home.
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