New Jersey nursing home fires, deaths linked to ‘fraudulent’ Medicare fraud
New Jersey residents who rely on the state’s nursing home system are reporting a surge in cases linked to Medicare fraud, prompting a new probe by the New Jersey Department of Health.
In a statement on Tuesday, the department said it was looking into the possible deaths of a nursing home resident in October.
The New Jersey Fire Marshal’s Office has confirmed it has received an email from a New Jersey resident who reported seeing a man in his 30s wearing a mask and holding a rifle outside the nursing home on October 27, which is one day after a nursing homes’ security guard was found shot to death in the nursing facility.
The email, from a resident in the community of Southfield, New Jersey, said the man appeared to be in the midst of making a robbery attempt.
“I was walking my dog outside, and I heard a loud ‘pop’, and the guy started running and then he was running around with a rifle,” the resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told Al Jazeera.
“The nurse came running up and the ambulance was waiting for him.”
The incident has since become the subject of an investigation by the department.
“The department is aware of an incident involving a patient in the Southfield community who was hospitalized in an incident of suspected suspicious behaviour,” a department statement said.
“We are currently conducting an investigation into this incident.
It is currently being investigated and our full findings will be available to the public.”
The Department of Justice is also investigating the case.
According to the department, the nurse was not a security guard.
“As a result, the Department of Corrections has placed the patient on administrative leave pending further investigation,” it said.
In another incident, a nurse was working in the facility when she became suspicious of a man who was holding a pistol, according to the report.
She was able to get the man to stop and called police.
“She reported this incident to the nursing staff immediately and took the suspect into custody,” the department’s statement said, adding that a warrant has been issued for the man’s arrest.
In an interview with the Associated Press, the nursing resident said the incident occurred in early October, when a man with a mask was seen by a guard outside the facility.
He told AP the man was wearing a helmet, which made him look more dangerous, but the nurse refused to believe him.
“He was wearing all black, and he was wearing this helmet, and it was really scary,” the nursing worker told AP.
“So I just put my hands in my pockets, I took him into the back and we were trying to make sure he was OK.
We kept saying ‘you are a security officer, you are in a nursing facility and you are supposed to be protecting patients’.”
In addition to the alleged shooting, the man is also suspected of taking several patients to his home for medical treatment, which he then admitted he was not licensed to practice.
“It’s not right.
We are not doctors and we’re not nurses,” the man said.
“This is all fake.
It’s all a fraud, and this is why the people who are doing it are so desperate to take our money.”
The state Department of Insurance is also conducting an internal investigation into the nursing homes claims.
“In this instance, it appears that the resident had reason to believe that the nursing care provider had made a claim for a medical treatment,” a spokesperson told Aljazeera.
“Our insurance investigators will determine whether a claim was made or not and determine if any actions have been taken to resolve the issue.”
According to Reuters, there are now more than 20 nursing homes across the state, with a total of about 3,000 residents.
More to come.