Nursing home chain to pay $38M in U.S. settlement

A nursing home chain has agreed to pay $38 million to resolve allegations that it billed Medicare and Medicaid for substandard care at dozens of facilities around the country, the Justice Department said.

A federal investigation into Extendicare Health Services Inc. accused the company of failing to provide appropriate care and follow safety protocols. Those lapses in some cases resulted in head injuries to residents, falls and fractures and cases of malnutrition, dehydration and infection, the government said.

"Protecting this nation's vulnerable populations, including our seniors, has been and continues to be one of this department's highest priorities," acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said.

The federal government accused the company of substandard care, between 2007 and 2013, in 33 of its skilled nursing homes in eight states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington.

In Indiana, Extendicare says it operates 17 rehabilitation facilities, mostly outside the Indianapolis area.

Tim Lukenda, president and chief executive of Extendicare, said in a statement that the company was "pleased to finally put this matter behind us."

"We have already invested substantial resources to enhance our existing compliance program over the past several years," he said.

The company will also enter into a five-year compliance agreement with the inspector general's office at the Department of Health and Human Services. The agreement will require the company to retain an independent monitor and make other changes.

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