Life Care files for dismissal of claims

Life Care files for dismissal of claims

There are 17 comments on the Cleveland Daily Banner story from Mar 5, 2013, titled Life Care files for dismissal of claims. In it, Cleveland Daily Banner reports that:

Life Care Centers of America attorneys filed a motion Friday to dismiss allegations of fraud filed against the Cleveland-based company in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Cleveland Daily Banner.

Corporate Employee

Tucker, GA

#1 Mar 5, 2013
It's not gonna happy playa. Every email is out and every document is out. They have all the evidence. Why would we be cutting and trying to save ever red cent to pay the fine if we were not guilty. Good try baldy. You and da hit man are grasping again. When you sent the email out to us all we just sat back and grinned.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#2 Apr 6, 2013
Why the ones who know and can help will not call and report to the Department Of Justice. This should be reported if you can help. Just think if they fire you then, you have a massive case against them.
There are lots of Corporate employees who could blow the whistle and should do the right thing.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#3 Apr 6, 2013
Who ruined Cleveland?

by Pete Edwards

On the home page of this publication is a December 23rd Chattanooga Times Free Press report titled “Feds: Life Care plan started at top”, which contains a synopsis of federal fraud charges bought against Cleveland based Life Care Centers of America. Among the charges are that Life Care engaged in a widespread scheme to defraud Medicare and tried to cover up wrongdoing by punishing employees who complained of the possible illegal practices. The cost of Medicare is being blamed for a large part of the US budget deficit and lawmakers are demanding Medicare fraud be stopped, but it seems in this case the federal prosecution team which includes Elizabeth Tonkin, who works in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee in the Knoxville office, is being less than enthusiastic in the prosecution process. Her team unnecessarily sealed the case from public scrutiny causing criticism from a federal judge. It seems to be an example of federal prosecutors themselves attempting to cover up a Medicare fraud case they were investigating.

The case was sealed by prosecutors since 2008, and was only opened after a request from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

After the request a federal judge issued a scathing opinion in which he put federal prosecutors “on notice” for keeping a Medicare fraud case under seal for four years. The opinion and documents in the long-running case were unsealed by U.S. District Judge Harry S.“Sandy” Mattice. The entire lawsuit was kept under seal from the time of the filings under seemingly false pretext, according to Mattice’s opinion. Whistle-blower lawsuits are allowed to stay under seal for 60 days while prosecutors evaluate the case and determine whether the U.S. Department of Justice will get involved. Keeping the cases sealed is supposed to “prevent alleged wrongdoers from being tipped off that they were under investigation,” Mattice wrote. But the prosecutors admitted they had begun settlement negotiations with Life Care in June 2010. The company’s top officials were fully aware that they were being investigated.“The length of time this case has remained under seal borders on the absurd,” Mattice wrote.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#4 Apr 6, 2013
Life Care Centers of America is reported to be the 181st largest privately owned company in the US and operates more than 260 assisted and independent living facilities, retirement centers and nursing facilities in 28 states. Life Care also provides home care agency services. The company generates $2.69 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 38,000 people.

Most of our Cleveland readers will know that Life Care is owned by local businessman, Forrest Preston, a prominent and influential member of Cleveland’s elite, and most of them will not be surprised by the charges or the way Preston, through his company managers, are alleged to have treated employees. Using a threat of being fired as a way to intimidate honest employees seems to be a stock-in-trade tool to cover up shady dealings by Cleveland’s prominent business leaders. The fact that this town could be described as the epicenter of the Bible Belt does not seem to stifle the scandal its leaders create. If the charges are proven, Preston will join a growing list of corrupt or otherwise tainted leaders to have focused disgrace upon an otherwise upstanding community.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#5 Apr 6, 2013
Life Care Centers of America is reported to be the 181st largest privately owned company in the US and operates more than 260 assisted and independent living facilities, retirement centers and nursing facilities in 28 states. Life Care also provides home care agency services. The company generates $2.69 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 38,000 people.

Most of our Cleveland readers will know that Life Care is owned by local businessman, Forrest Preston, a prominent and influential member of Cleveland’s elite, and most of them will not be surprised by the charges or the way Preston, through his company managers, are alleged to have treated employees. Using a threat of being fired as a way to intimidate honest employees seems to be a stock-in-trade tool to cover up shady dealings by Cleveland’s prominent business leaders. The fact that this town could be described as the epicenter of the Bible Belt does not seem to stifle the scandal its leaders create. If the charges are proven, Preston will join a growing list of corrupt or otherwise tainted leaders to have focused disgrace upon an otherwise upstanding community.

It seems to be no coincidence that the people tarnishing Cleveland’s good name tend to be part of the same powerful group that run, and benefit from, Cleveland’s small town image and lifetime Bradley County born residents. It also seems no coincidence that the so-called “good ol’ boys” are powerful in the Cleveland / Bradley Chamber of Commerce and its partner, Cleveland Associated Industries. Two entities that I believe work contrary to the interests of ordinary citizens but prosper by getting nothing but praise from local press and covering up misdeeds. It is interesting that while intimidation by this group can easily be used to cover up wrongdoing in Cleveland, they don’t find other communities such easy prey. In the case of the accusations against Life Care Centers of America, and its owner Forrest Preston, the scheme to overcharge Medicare was disclosed in 2008 by two whistle-blower employees from Life Care facilities in Morristown, Tennessee, and Lauderhill, Florida.

Sometimes in cover-up cases such as this, as word leaks out, more and more victims are emboldened to come forward to help prosecutors cement their case. The Bernie Madoff investment fraud case cascaded into personal wrongdoing that cost an otherwise untouchable and influential participant many years in the penitentiary. In the Life Care case of alleged Medicare fraud it is worrying that prosecutors seem to be helping Life Care avoid responsibility by artificially keeping charges hidden from the press, something wrongdoers from Cleveland have attempted to do in the past. And, the fact that the federal government is lending itself to be part of a cover-up protecting Medicare fraud and abandoning its responsibility to the elderly that were possibly harmed by its practices, calls into question the integrity of the prosecutors involved.

There is no guarantee that this time Preston, even with an estimated personal fortune of $600 million, will have enough money or influence to prevail against determined federal prosecutors armed with eyewitness accounts and a watchful public. Either way, his reputation and that of his home town will be forever tarnished.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#6 Apr 6, 2013
That’s what I think. What do you think?
Corporate Employee

Albuquerque, NM

#7 Apr 6, 2013
Because our lives are threatened every day. We are under the microscope every email monitored every phone call randomly recorded. Every move in the office is watched and everyone around is scared. We actually work for a cult. To be honest with you a secretary is paid $12.00 per hour around this area, but Life Care pays you $21 plus. Then you are watched and taunted. For one I have to put food on the table for my kids. If it were not for that and if I could be guaranteed my job I could split the doors of the corporation wide open. The thing that goes on here would rock mars.
Corporate Employee

Albuquerque, NM

#8 Apr 7, 2013
Tanya (Baldree) Mazzolini, a 27-year associate of Life Care Centers of America, has been promoted to vice president of accounting for the company, moving up from the position of director of corporate accounting.

The announcement is made by Beecher Hunter, president, who said Mazzolini’s “professional skills, her can-do spirit, and her proven leadership made her advancement to the VP level an easy call.”

Recommendations for the promotion were made by Steve Ziegler, chief financial officer, and Terry Henry, senior vice president of accounting.

“Tanya is a highly intelligent individual with a broad knowledge of accounting principles and an understanding of the importance of the business function in fulfillment of our mission,” Ziegler said.

“Beyond statistics and ledgers, however, Tanya has a heart that beats for people, demonstrated by her mission trips and the strategic role she plays for our local United Way.”

Henry, to whom Mazzolini will continue to report, praised her value to the organization.“Tanya’s technical and organizational skills, coupled with her leadership and training abilities, have resulted in a highly efficient and accomplished corporate accounting department. I have had the pleasure of working with her for 26 years, and during that time have watched her emerge as a highly engaged and competent leader, both within Life Care and in the community.”

Mazzolini said she is “very pleased to serve any way I can. I am excited about this new opportunity, and being able to help Life Care complete its mission, which is to provide the best care to our residents. Although I don’t do clinical care, I can play a part by being a good supporter of the people who do give direct care.”

A 1984 graduate of Lee University, with a bachelor of science degree in accounting,

Mazzolini joined Life Care in May 1985 as a staff accountant and worked her way up. She presently supervises a staff of 11 accountants and accounts-payable specialists in preparation of 500-plus entity consolidation, financial reports, and analysis, as well as preparation of general ledger and corporate financial statements.

She also supervises and coordinates yearly financial audits with outside auditors, and works with Information Technology in systems development, conversions and implementation.

Her outside interests include United Way, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Alzheimer’s Association and Barnard Astronomical Society. She was the 2012 ambassador to Peru for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child.

Mazzolini and her husband, Dr. Michael Mazzolini, reside in Cleveland. They have four children, with spouses’ names listed in parentheses: Katherine Longwith, Adam (and Heather) Mazzolini, Tina (and Ben) Doty, and Tim (and Michelle) Mazzolini; and eight grandchildren.

Life Care Centers of America operates about 225 skilled nursing facilities in 28 states.

Here is another example where Life Care doesn't tell you the full story. Her boss as been on administrative leave for about two Months with another accountant for telling Preston he was not Going to break the law and cover up in the tax department.
Corporate Employee

Albuquerque, NM

#9 Apr 7, 2013
Life Care Centers of America attorneys filed a motion Friday to dismiss allegations of fraud filed against the Cleveland-based company in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.

Life Care attorneys requested in a five-page motion that District Judge Harry Mattice dismiss the federal government’s claims in their entirety because prosecutors do not allege any violation of statutes and regulations relating to requirements of medical necessity. A 53-page supporting document accompanied the motion.

The motion specifically addresses counts one and two. It states the complaint fails to allege any “objectively false” claim for payment in the first count,“because the complaint does not, and cannot, allege any objective criteria or standard to verify when rehabilitation therapy is ‘medically necessary’ or ‘skilled.’” The second count fails to allege any “false statements or records.” There is no allegation the data indicating the number of therapy minutes provided to each patient was false, inaccurate or that LCCA did not actually provide all of the therapy services identified.

According to the motion, both counts one and two fail to specify which one or more of LCCA’s more than 200 facilities are at issue. It is also claimed they fail to identify any actual claim submitted to the government that was “false” as a result of the alleged “corporate pressure.”

Continuing, the complaint failed to specify the operative dates relating to any of the supposedly fraudulent schemes and practices; or any person or any category of individuals engaged in fraudulent conduct.

Also, the government failed to identify what specifically was false about LCCA’s claims for payment to the government by alleging the number of minutes exceeded “medically necessary” therapy.

Life Care attorneys claimed the government violated the False Claims Act by engaging in unchecked and one-sided discovery in an attempt to bolster its claims. Prosecutors also improperly delayed intervening in attempts to increase the scope of potential liability and damage claims against LCCA.

Federal prosecutors are seeking actual damages to be determined at a trial to be set later. Life Care is charged with five counts, including violation of the False Claims Act and for unjust enrichment by retaining monies to which it was not entitled.

Federal prosecutors allege Life Care submitted millions of dollars in false claims for payment. Life Care stated in an open letter to employees in January that its practices have resulted in significant savings to the Medicare program — potentially $400 million for the period of 2006-10.

The case comes from two whistleblower suits from two former employees. One came out of the Southern District of Florida filed in 2008 by Tammie Johnson Taylor. The second was filed by Glenda Martin, who worked at Life Care Heritage Center in Morristown from 1993 through 2007, and as interim director of nursing at various other Life Care facilities. Through her employment, she gained firsthand knowledge of company practices.

The suit alleges Life Care was able to control the type and amount of therapy provided to patients. Patients generally arrive at a health care facility with a generic note from a physician indicating the patient is to be evaluated for physical, occupational or speech therapy. Life Care personnel prepared therapy plans that were submitted to a physician who, in most cases, was the medical director of the facility.

Prosecutors allege corporate pressure was placed on staff. Also, Life Care often falsely documented treatment in order to justify higher reimbursement and in other instances, therapy was given to patients though they received no benefit from therapy, prosecutors stated.
Corporate Employee

Albuquerque, NM

#10 Apr 7, 2013
The idiotic thing about these entire events is the fact the company has hired Cynthia Garcia a paralegal who went to a non accredited law school at night can never get a license in TN and she sits in her office ordering us around firing off orders and loosing her temper and now attorneys don't want to represent this company if they have to deal with her. Some attorneys have even sent their files back because of how she does. The law firm she came from describes her as a total mental job but Preston like the fact she will lie cheat ir steal to cover up the truth about what goes on every day in our office.
Corporate Employee

Albuquerque, NM

#11 Apr 7, 2013
This family should have been paid. They were wronged in so many ways!

Monday, January 21, 2013
Crossman v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.
In Crossman v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc., the North Carolina Court of Appeals recently upheld the invalidation of a healthcare arbitration agreement as impossible to perform due to a failure of material terms. In January 2011, while serving as the administrator of her husband’s estate, Lucille Crossman filed a wrongful death complaint against the Defendants, who own, operate, and manage the assisted living facility in Hendersonville in which Ms. Crossman’s husband resided before his death. When Mr. Crossman entered the facility in 2004, he signed an agreement in which he stipulated that the parties agreed to submit all claims arising out of his care and treatment at the facility to binding arbitration. The agreement also specified that such disputes would go before an arbitration hearing before a board of three arbitrators selected from the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) and that the arbitrators would apply the rules of the AAA. Ms. Crossman did not sign the agreement.

When Ms. Crossman filed the wrongful death complaint, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration based on the terms of the arbitration agreement. The trial court denied the motion, holding that the agreement was unenforceable because it was impossible to perform due to a failure in its material terms and because arbitration agreements signed by decedents do not bind wrongful death beneficiaries.

On appeal, the Court agreed that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable. The Court explained that effective January 1, 2003, the AAA had issued a Healthcare Policy Statement informing all potential parties to an arbitration agreement in the field of healthcare that the AAA would no longer accept the arbitration of cases involving individual patients without a post-dispute agreement to arbitrate. Because the agreement had been signed before a dispute arose, and because the agreement stipulated that arbitration must occur under AAA rules and be presided over by persons approved by the AAA, the Court held that the agreement was unenforceable because it was impossible to perform due to a failure in material terms.

The Court distinguished the case from its earlier holding in Westmoreland v. High Point Healthcare Inc.,___ N.C. App.___, 721 S.E.2d 712 (2012), in which the Court held that a pre-dispute arbitration agreement signed on admittance to a nursing facility was enforceable. In that case, the agreement stipulated that any arbitration must follow the rules of the AAA and be conducted before one neutral arbitrator selected in accordance with the rules of the AAA. The Court held that the agreement was not impossible to perform despite the existence of the AAA Policy Statement, because it did not preclude arbitration of the claims by a non-AAA arbitrator. Here, in contrast, the agreement stated that the arbitration would be conducted by arbitrators selected from the AAA. It specifically required the use of AAA arbitrators and was, therefore, unenforceable as impossible to perform.

Interestingly, the Court declined to reach the second question posed by the appeal: whether Ms. Crossman, as a beneficiary of Mr. Crossman’s estate, would be bound by her husband's assent to the arbitration agreement. That question remains for another day...
Corporate Employee

United States

#12 Apr 7, 2013
Another one they gots to deal with!

Slade v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.
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Plaintiff: Raiven Slade
Defendant: Life Care Centers of America, Inc.

Case Number: 1:2013cv10395
Filed: February 27, 2013

Court: Massachusetts District Court
Office: Boston Office
County: Plymouth
Presiding Judge: Nathaniel M. Gorton

Nature of Suit: Labor - Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
Cause: 28:1441

Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Jury Demanded By: Both
Slade v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.

Plaintiff: Raiven Slade
Represented By: Lisa S. Carlson and Russell G. Whynacht

Defendant: Life Care Centers of America, Inc.
Represented By: Patrick M. Curran, Jr.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#13 Apr 7, 2013
How could you not be guaranteed your job with all this gone public. If you have no past history and now you come forward and talk, if something happened they started picking on you or harrassing you it would just be proof for a large lawsuit and that type of harrassment is protected by the government and the whistleblower law. Look it up, there are alot of laws for employee protection. Anyway I think the safest way to do it would be have a buddy system. Two or more, theres no way they can harrass or terminate two at the same time. You do seem to have a great deal of info so maybe if you call the DOJ they could give you a few guarantees. I don't know how that works.
Corporate Employee

United States

#14 Apr 7, 2013
I sat here in my living room and just from 2011 to now I counted over 75 people that has been let go. The entire legal team has been terminated to prevent anyone from talking to the press, they cut the entire HR team and then rehired new people and they are made to sign off on a confidentiality gag order to get any pay. I will take your advice and call the OIG tomorrow to see what they say. I don't think they would be open on a Sunday. But I am scared because they are evil. This site is even monitored. Every social sight is
Monitored and every time something is posted an alert is sent to the communications department and they try to figure out which one of the employees post.
wondering

Morristown, TN

#15 Apr 7, 2013
Just because you are terminated doesn't keep you from talking. Any of these 75 people could and should report what they know. Any of them are now free to report or talk to the press at will. Being let go for the wrong reasons would actually make you mad and want to talk. Also your not held to a contract if it is something illegal you're reporting. And yes, I already know how evil these people can be. It s all about the $$$$.
Thanks Mr Well

United States

#16 Apr 29, 2013
Thanks for finally seeing through Cynthia. She can not handle the work originally hires for but PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT WANT HER BACK AT THE LAW FIRM. She was running more business off then keeping. Nice lady if you like a back stabbing cut throat undermining emoter who thinks the top position should be hers. Good feel to see her in the smaller office reporting directly to you on special projects. She though she was taking over that place. Good move player !!
dennis matthews

Cleveland, TN

#17 Aug 7, 2013
I said 3 years ago that they will get nailed. But it would have to come from the Feds. The state was not going to expose them because the state would have to expose themselves to kickbacks, phony, no notice inspections and so on. Bless the poor people who paid the price due to their greed; my mother being one.

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