Health Care

Nursing home providers accused of misusing federal dollars received millions in COVID-19 funds: report

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Nursing home providers that have been previously accused of misusing federal funds received more than $300 million in “no strings attached” COVID-19 stimulus aid, according to an in-depth analysis by The Washington Post.

More than a dozen of those companies have recently settled lawsuits with the Department of Justice for alleged improper Medicare billing, forged documents, substandard care and other abuses, the Post found. Collectively, the companies repaid $260 million to the government.

The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the same agency that distributed coronavirus relief funds to nursing homes, required that the companies undergo enhanced reporting protocols and staff training. 

SavaSeniorCare, a nursing home provider based out of Georgia, is currently in litigation after being accused of putting elderly residents into unnecessary therapy services and delaying the release of patients to reap higher Medicare payments. The Post found SavaSeniorCare received $65 million in pandemic relief aid. 

At least two nursing homes under scrutiny for their response to the coronavirus pandemic received federal aid as well, the Post found.

The money in question came from the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund created under the CARES Act, which distributed payments to health care providers such as hospitals and nursing homes.  

Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced in April during a news briefing with the White House coronavirus task force that the administration’s goal was to disburse the funds as quickly as possible.

“The president wants us to accelerate getting those dollars out,” she said, adding that there are “no strings attached, so the health care providers that are receiving these dollars can essentially spend that in any way they see fit.”

HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Tags Department of Health and Human Services nursing homes

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