SNF chain will pay $600,000 to settle delayed discharge claims

A New York nursing home chain has agreed to pay $600,000 to resolve claims that it delayed the discharges of short-term residents at its facilities.

Elant Inc., which operates five skilled nursing facilities in New York, admitted to postponing discharges of short-term stay residents between 2008 and 2011, without consent from residents and their families. Senior officials at the company allegedly limited the number of short-term discharges to two or three per week, delayed discharge paperwork and provided residents with medically unnecessary services, according to a statment from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Elant also was found to have transferred residents with Medicaid coverage to one of its financially struggling facilities. In emails, Elant executives discussed holding residents who received Medicare and Medicaid for longer than necessary to receive additional reimbursements, according to authorities.

“We need to slow discharges across the system. I will send the message to Goshen [an Elant facility] but please let the other buildings know,” one email included in the press release stated. Other emails urged administrators to avoid discharges, saying “residents and families can be very obstinate,” and noting “we are really holding these people against their will.”

The New York Department of Health sought to have the nursing home administrator licenses of two former Elant chief executive officers and two former facility administrators revoked in tandem with the state's investigation.

In a statement to McKnight's, Elant Board of Directors Chair Donna Cornell said the company has been working with Schneiderman and other state agencies since 2012.

“While there were a limited number of these incidents and patients were not harmed, we have zero tolerance for these actions as they were not consistent with Elant's mission and the board's expectations,” Cornell said. “The individuals responsible for these unauthorized actions are no longer employed at any Elant facility, and processes were put in place three years ago to ensure these occurrences never happen again."