Prestige Care Center Cited for 19 Violations; Owner Accused of Defrauding Taxpayers
State regulators have cited a southern Iowa nursing home for 19 regulatory violations. The facility is also partially owned by someone who has been accused of fraud.
The facility, Prestige Care Center, was cited for multiple medication errors. For example, it was recently revealed that a nurse put tap water into a morphine bottle because there was not enough of the drug to give patients the proper dose.
This happened last September. A staffer asked the nurse what to do because they were short of some liquid morphine. The nurse went over to the kitchen sink and filled the bottle of morphine.
Another violation involved a staff member’s fingers inside a morphine bottle – the staffer admitted to licking her fingers after putting them in the bottle.
There was also a citation for not ensuring a resident received the proper medication. This happened in October of last year. A resident started slurring words and became incontinent. Investigators found out the medications intended for this resident were given to two others.
Prestige Care Center was also cited for COVID-19 vaccination violations. The facility did not maintain records to prove 11 workers received their vaccinations.
Investigators proposed fines of $8,250 and $7,500. However, these fines are not being imposed while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decides if there should be federal fines.
Prestige Care Center received a fine of $98,833 in December 2021. The facility has been federally fined by CMS nine times.
Partial Owner of Prestige Care Center Faces Lawsuit from New York Attorney General
Prestige Care Center is owned by two people from New York: Yisroel Kaplan and Ephram Lahasky. The facility is run in Iowa under the name Sunnybrook Operations.
New York’s Attorney General sued Lahasky four months ago. The lawsuit says Lahasky and his partners committed an $18 million fraud against the government. The lawsuit also says they neglected residents at a nursing home in New York called The Villages.
The lawsuit alleges Lahasky and partners got mortgages to allow them to buy the facility. They later refinanced with a $15 million mortgage. They took a $4 million cash distribution from the loan.
The lawsuit says another refinance was done in 2020 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Another $3.6 million was taken by the owners of the facility as a profit. This increased the cost of the loan and was followed by a decline in the care provided by the facility. This gave the impression the facility was struggling with its finances.
Lahasky partially owns Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, and authorities in Pennsylvania have accused them of charging too much for providing care to residents. There is another allegation of falsifying records about staff hours.
According to MarketWatch, Lahasky has an ownership stake in 97 facilities, but only two have the CMS five-star rating. More than 66 percent of Lahasky’s facilities have one or two-star ratings.
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