The landlord and former operators of the Saratoga Center, an upstate New York nursing home, have agreed to pay nearly $7.2 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations.
In a statement released Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that settling parties "knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false claims for payment to Medicaid for worthless nursing services."
The settling parties, Leon Melohn; Alan "Ari" Schwartz; Jeffrey Vegh; Jack Jaffa; 149 Ballston Ave., LLC; Ballston Two, LLC Saratoga Center for Care, LLC; and Saratoga Care and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, will collectively pay $7,168,000.
The Saratoga Center was closed in February 2021 after authorities started an investigation into violation of the False Claims Act. The center’s physical conditions were found to have deteriorated to such a degree that they did not meet federal and state regulations. Additionally, the center did not consistently maintain hot water throughout the facility, dispose of solid waste, and lacked an adequate linen inventory.
Meanwhile, the operators failed to adequately staff the home and ensure residents’ safety, resulting in medication errors, unnecessary falls, and the development of pressure ulcers.
"This case demonstrates that we will hold responsible people accountable when they pocket federal funds while providing substandard care," says U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman for the Northern District of New York.
In 2019, the Saratoga Center was placed on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Special Focus Facility list — among the worst-performing nursing homes in the U.S.