An Atlanta nursing home owner and his wife have been convicted on charges to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs by billing them for “worthless services” in the operation of three deficient nursing homes.
George Dayln Houser, 63, of Atlanta, ran two nursing homes (Mount Berry and Moran Lake) in Rome, Georgia between July 2004 and July 2007. He also ran Wildwood in Brunswick, GA. Medicare and Medicaid paid Houser more than $32.9 million during that time for food, medical care, and other services for nursing home residents that he either did not provide or that were so deficient that they were worthless.
According to the FBI, Houser billed Medicare/Medicaid approximately $39.4 million, and they paid him $32.9 million on the promises that he would would residents with a clean, safe, physical environment, nutritional meals, medical care and services that would promote or enhance the residents’ quality of life.
The court concluded that the evidence showed, “a long-term pattern of conditions at defendant’s nursing homes that were so poor, including food shortages bordering on starvation, leaking roofs, virtually no nursing or housekeeping supplies, poor sanitary conditions, major staff shortages, and safety concerns.”
The court also concluded that the the services provided during Houser’s ownership provided no medical value.
Evidence presented during the trial showed Houser kept approximately $8 million for personal use, including $4.2 million for real estate and $1.4 million on a house for his ex-wife who was listed as an employee, but never actually worked at any of the facilities. It turns out that Houser and his ex-wife agreed to the house rather than alimony payments. He also used the corporate bank accounts for cars, furniture and vacations.
The other deficiencies mentioned at trial include: inadequate staffing, inadequate physical environments and failure to pay vendors.