Nursing home, federal government settle lawsuit

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Associated Press

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 3:01 PM

ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) — A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over patient care at a northern Kentucky nursing home.

The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/YvQFhd) reports the agreement requires Villaspring Health Care Center and its parent company, Carespring Health Care Management, to pay the federal government $350,000 and report progress on improving care to residents.

The federal government sued the institutions in 2011 claiming the nursing home provided "services that were worthless."

Federal prosecutors say it was the first lawsuit in the state that accused a nursing home of violating the False Claims Act by seeking reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare for alleged poor care.

Part of the settlement required the home to pay for an independent compliance consultant who will review its quality of care and work with the home on improvements while providing the U.S. Attorney's Office with progress reports.

Villaspring and Carespring still dispute the allegations in the lawsuit, but Carespring Vice President Kim Majick said in a statement Monday that the company wanted to move forward.

"Although we have always believed the lawsuit against us was unwarranted, it is in the best interest of Villaspring, its employees and residents to settle this matter and move on; we have agreed to disagree on this matter," Majick said. "Villaspring has consistently provided high-quality care to the residents of Northern Kentucky, achieving four- and five-star ratings from the regulators, and looks forward to continuing that care in the future."

U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said in a statement that terms of the settlement will assure good care for residents.

"The focus of the agreement is ensuring that quality of care standards are met and the consultant provisions of the settlement will provide real benefits to Villaspring residents," Harvey said.

The lawsuit detailed care given to six residents — five of whom died — between 2004 and 2008 and said the home had billed for services that the patients never received.

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com

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