Jury in nursing home whistleblower suit hands down $28M in fines

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A federal jury recently assessed penalties of $28.1 million against the former owner of an Illinois nursing home on charges that include Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Two nurses formerly employed at the Momence Meadows Nursing Center (MMNC) in Kankakee, IL, launched the whistleblower case. They alleged the facility provided substandard care to residents and inappropriately billed Medicare and Medicaid for treatments during the time it was owned and operated by defendant Jacob Graff. The nurses also said MMNC terminated their employment in 2003 to silence their complaints.

The suit was originally filed in 2004. MMNC came under new ownership in 2006, and a motion to dismiss was denied in March 2007. A nine-day trial took place earlier this month.

The jury fined MMNC more than $19 million for filing more than 1,700 false or fraudulent claims to state and federal agencies. Additional fines were levied because the “worthless services” provided by the nursing home resulted in the government losing more than $3 million. The two whistleblowers also received monetary awards.

Due to substandard care at the facility, MMNC residents ended up with problems such as severe pressure sores, scabies and malnourishment, according to court documents.

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