Ark. Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Nursing Home Operator

September 15, 2004

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe announced that his office has reached a settlement with Advocat Inc. of Franklin, Tenn., operating in Arkansas as Diversicare Management Services, to resolve a series of lawsuits and investigations concerning allegations of mistreatment and neglect at 13 Advocat-operated nursing homes.

Under the terms of the settlement, Advocat will spend $600,000 to install sprinkler systems in Arkansas nursing homes. In addition, Advocat will pay $400,000 into the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund over the next two years. The settlement also includes $300,000 that Advocat is spending on improving staff training and patient care in its Arkansas facilities.

Attorney General Beebe filed lawsuits earlier this year alleging mistreatment and neglect of patients at Advocat nursing homes in Conway, Hot Springs (2 facilities), Malvern, Sheridan and Eureka Springs. Additional investigations were also conducted regarding practices at nursing homes in Camden, Newport, Pocahontas, Des Arc, Mena, Walnut Ridge and Ash Flat. The allegations included failure to provide necessary care, rehabilitation, treatment, supervision and medical services. The state also alleged that nursing-home staff members failed to carry out prescribed treatment plans and failed to report health problems or to report them in a timely fashion. No individual staff members were named in the lawsuits.

“These lawsuits were not meant to financially damage Advocat; they were meant to improve the nursing-home care they provide to Arkansas residents,” Beebe said in the announcement. “The last thing we need is fewer nursing homes operating in our state. What we do need is to ensure quality care from the centers we already have.”

In addition to allegations of mistreatment and neglect, the state lawsuits also alleged that some facilities submitted fraudulent billings to the Arkansas Medicaid Program for care that was either inadequate or never provided. Advocat does not admit or acknowledge any violations in their Arkansas nursing-home facilities.

For questions, contact the Attorney General’s Office at 200 Catlett-Prien Tower Building, 323 Center Street, Little Rock, Ark. 72201. The office can be reached by calling (501) 682-2341 or 1-(800) 482-8982. Spanish-speaking consumers can also call (501) 683-3130. TDD service is available for the hearing-impaired 682-6073.

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