Administrator's manslaughter sentence 'appropriate,' her attorney says

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A former administrator who tried to cover up the elopement death of an Alzheimer's resident received an "appropriate" sentence of 44 months in prison, her attorney says. The maximum sentence, it will run after a five-year sentence she earlier received for filing false records to obtain more than $7 million in Medicare and Medicaid payments.

The second sentence, handed down Monday, was "an additional pound of flesh but, under the guidelines, it was an appropriate sentence," said Jack Elash, an attorney for Martha Bell. She and her former facility's parent company, Alzheimer's Disease Alliance of Western Pennsylvania, were found guilty late last week of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and other crimes. The company was fined $25,000.

A coroner said that exposure likely was a contributing factor in the death of Mabel Taylor, an 88-year-old who had wandered outside the now closed Ronald Reagan Atrium I Nursing and Rehabilitation Center near Pittsburgh. Lawyers for Bell, 60, contended the death was accidental. Prosecutors said that Bell had instructed staff to say Taylor had died inside.