CUOMO’S HIDDEN-CAMERA INVESTIGATION LEADS TO 22 ARRESTS FOR PATIENT NEGLECT AT WNY AND CAPITAL REGION NURSING HOMES

ALBANY, NY (March 31, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has arrested 22 current and former health care workers in two separate cases after footage from hidden surveillance cameras revealed alleged neglect and other conduct that endangered dependent residents. The first case involves the arrest of 14 individuals regarding incidents at Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility in Troy. The second case involves the arrest of 8 individuals regarding incidents at the Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst.

“With the consent of family members, we put hidden cameras in nursing homes across the state, watching over the vulnerable who often cannot advocate for themselves,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office is strongly committed to using all the tools at our disposal to make sure people are getting the medical treatment and the care they deserve.”

The arrests announced today are part of a string of cases where Cuomo’s office has used hidden cameras to obtain evidence to prosecute health care workers for mistreating patients. Cuomo’s office is leading the nation in using hidden surveillance to investigate the abuse of patients at nursing homes. To date, 30 nursing home employees have been convicted based on surveillance recordings. In addition, the corporate owner of one nursing home has been convicted and another has settled a civil suit brought by the MFCU as a result of a hidden camera investigation.

Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility in Troy

The investigation along with surveillance video taken at Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility in Troy over a six-week period revealed that staff routinely failed to turn and position an immobile resident, often leaving the resident in the same position for an entire shift. Nursing staff failed to administer medications, as well as treat the resident’s bed sores. The footage also revealed that the aides charged today failed to check the resident for incontinence or change undergarments for long periods of time. In addition, the resident's medical records show that the defendants falsified medical records to conceal their neglect. A physician’s assistant also created a phony record of an annual medical exam that never happened.

Six Licensed Practical Nurses and seven Certified Nurse Aides were charged with multiple counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony) and Willful Violation of the Public Health Law (unclassified misdemeanor) in complaints filed in Schaghticoke Town Court. In addition, the LPNs were charged with multiple counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Physically Disabled Person (class A misdemeanor). The physician’s assistant was charged with one count each of the above charges. A class E felony carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison and the misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst

The investigation along with surveillance video taken at Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst over a seven-week period revealed that staff routinely failed to properly transfer the resident in and out of bed, putting the resident at risk of injury. Staff was required to use a mechanical lift with the assistance of two caregivers. Video footage also revealed that one aide failed to provide range of motion therapy and two nurses failed to administer insulin, provide skin and wound treatment, and failed to check the resident’s vital signs. In addition, the resident's medical records show that employees falsified records to conceal the resident’s neglect and endangerment.

Two Licensed Practical Nurses and one Certified Nurse Aide were charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony) in complaints filed in Amherst Town Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison. Five other Certified Nurse Aides were charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person (class A misdemeanor), with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. The Certified Nurse Aide who falsified the resident's medical record failed to perform range of motion exercises on the resident's extremities, which were required to prevent muscle contracture.

Charged today in the Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility case are:

* Julia Roske, PA, 43, Guilderland
* Nancy Abel, CNA, 62, Cohoes
* Cynthia Cooper, CNA, 49, Troy
* Monique Inyeard, CNA, 25, Troy
* Jessica Tremper, CNA, 29, Troy
* Michelle Simpson, CNA, 39, Albany
* Sharon John, CNA, 54, New York
* pal Ingram, CNA, 48, Troy
* Gail Klein, LPN, 61, Mechanicville
* Linda Vogt, LPN, 61, Schaghticoke
* Leslie Mayo, LPN, 53, Watervliet
* Lisa Sousie, LPN, 44, Troy
* Kathleen Osgood, LPN, 38, Troy
* Alicia Smith, LPN, 36, Schenectady

Charged in the Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home case are:

* Deborah Groth, LPN, 61, Buffalo
* Terri Brown, LPN, 37, Buffalo
* Leslie Thompson, CNA, 61, Buffalo
* Tweneboa Saow, CNA, 52, Buffalo
* Linda Banks, CNA, 54, Buffalo
* Laquita Jones, CNA, 25, Buffalo
* Willena Bell, CNA, 49, Buffalo
* Diane Handley, CNA, 47, Buffalo

The Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility case is being handled by Kathleen A. Boland, Special Assistant Attorney General, under the supervision of Richard Harrow, Albany Regional Director, assisted by Antoine Karam, Acting Supervising Investigator, Stephanie Keyser, RN, Medical Analyst, Susan Hill, Supervising Special Auditor Investigator and Spring Thornton, Special Auditor Investigator .

The Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home case is being prosecuted by Thomas N. Schleif, Special Assistant Attorney General, under the supervision of Gary A. Baldauf, Buffalo Regional Director, assisted by Dewayne Baker, Supervising Special Investigator, Kathleen Donahue, Senior Special Investigator, James Zablonski, Special Investigator, Raymond August, Supervising Special Auditor Investigator, Jerome Higgins, Principal Special Auditor Investigator, Katie Jozwiak, Special Auditor Investigator and Tina Dentino, RN, Medical Analyst.

The charges against the defendants are only accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A portion of the video surveillance from the Troy case can be seen at http://rcpt.yousendit.com/845858185/e099a48ac35ebc462cca8fbc6a7ce4b1.

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