New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a press release on Monday, indicating that MVNH Associates, LLC, which runs the Mohawk Valley Health Care Center in Herkimer, New York, will plea guilty to a charge of falsifying business records, part of a 45-count indictment that it falsified records to cover up patient abuse and neglect. The nursing home has also agreed to pay back $1 million that the state says it overpaid the nursing home due to its fraudulent activities.
According to state prosecutors, the charges stem from two incidents in May 2013. In one case, nursing home employees allegedly committed a serious medication error that was not noticed for several days. In the other incident, a dementia patient reportedly engaged in unlawful sexual conduct with another resident in a dining room which was unsupervised.
The state claims that one of the owners, Gerald Wood III, eavesdropped on investigators while they were interviewing an employee, then changed the facilities records in an attempt to cover up the nursing home problems.
“The plea announced today resolves an investigation into troubling acts of abuse and neglect and a cover-up by those who should have been putting patients first,” Shneiderman said in the press release. “Nursing facilities are entrusted with an important responsibility to treat patients with the dignity and respect they deserve. My office will continue to hold individuals and nursing facilities accountable when they betray the trust of patients and the families who place loved ones in their care.”
Gerald Wood III, along with Justin Wood, and their father, Gerald Wood, Jr. will be required to divest ownership interests in the nursing home under the settlement. In addition, Gerald Wood III and Justin Wood also plead guilty on November 24, 2015 to a number of conspiracy and eavesdropping charges.
Gerald Wood III was sentenced to three years probation, which prohibits him from owning or working for, or being associated with a residential health care facility during that time. Justin Wood was fined and faces the same prohibitions for a one-year time period.
Two other employees, including the director of nursing and the administrator, plead guilty to tampering with evidence but have not yet been sentenced.