Provider wins $25 million settlement from state in 'retaliation' lawsuit

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A provider kept patients in hospice for years, overbilled for their care, charges state
A provider kept patients in hospice for years, overbilled for their care, charges state
The cost of an official sending inappropriate emails celebrating the demise of a Medicare/Medicaid provider agreement? $25 million.

The cost of winning in court? Priceless. At least that's the way one former long-term care provider now sees it.

On Wednesday, Brook Chambery, the owner of the long-closed Beechwood Restorative Care Center in Rochester, became the benefactor of a $25 million settlement from the state. Chambery had spent the better part of a decade saying that the New York Department of Health closed his facility in retaliation for years of clashes.

Kevin Cooman, an attorney for Chambery, said they were pleased with the settlement. “For my client, it's also about the vindication,” Cooman told McKnight's

The trial was bifurcated, which meant the jury first ruled in June that the Department of Health was retaliatory when it revoked Beechwood's operating license by saying it had quality problems. The facility closed in 1999.

The jury agreed with Chambery that an email chain between DOH administrators that included the phrase “HOT DIGGITY DAWG” (followed by 50 exclamation marks) and “AMEN AND HALLELUJAH” over Beechwood losing its Medicare/Medicaid provider agreement could be considered evidence that the state was being vindictive.

That same jury this week had the option of not only evaluating the loss of the facility – an estimated $18 million —  and subsequent lost income, but also damage to Chambery's reputation that could have added millions.

The $25 million agreement was announced during a special hearing that ended the seven-week trial in the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge David Larimer.

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