Progressive Step Corporation, known as ProStep, agreed to pay $38 million to settle allegations with federal investigators that it improperly billed multiple federal health programs for the poor and aging, and providing unnecessary care and “disturbing substandard care”.
In the largest nursing home quality-of-care case settlement in US history, the Justice Department officials announced that Extendicare Health Services, the parent company of ProStep, has chronically under-staffed its facilities, provided little or no training and failed to supervise its staff.
Assistant Attorney General Joyce Branda announced that “the investigation identified many disturbing examples of falls, fractures and head injuries to residents, often unnoticed by the staff for hours, as well as malnutrition, dehydration, pressure ulcers and infections. It is critically important that we confront nursing home operators who put their own economic gain ahead of the needs of their residents.”
The federal investigation focused on 33 ProStep facilities, from 2007 to 2013, including Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin. The settlement includes $28 million to settle the allegations of substandard care and $10 million for filing false Medicare claims.
According to the settlement: “Extendicare provided medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services, particularly during the patients’ assessment reference periods, so Extendicare could bill Medicare for those patients at the highest levels.”
“Operators who bill our vital state and federal programs for services so deficient that they are effectively worthless will be pursued for false claims,” said Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.
Extendicare and its subsidiary ProStep agreed to enter into a 5-year Corporate Integrity Agreement, a rigorous compliance program that protects the quality of elder resident care.
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