Virginia: Nursing Homes – A Lawyer’s WalterReed

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Mr. Waterman represents the Plaintiff resident estate against the Defendant nursing facility in the patient fall wrongful death medical malpractice case of Patrick Lee Cherrie, Administrator of the Estate of Gerda A. Harvey, Deceased, v. Virginia Health Services, Inc. d/b/a Walter Reed Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center, et al., No.CL14-340 in Circuit Court for Gloucester County, Virginia. Financial analysis of VHSI’s self-reported cost figures indicates its Walter Reed nursing facility chronically being staffed substantially below levels expected by the federal government [“CMS”] in 2012.

For example, for 2012 (the year of the VHSI resident fall/death at issue in Cherrie), CMS expected 63-72 minutes of RN time per resident per day, but VHSI reported only 37 minutes of RN time/resident/day for the 2 weeks before its annual inspection – and, more importantly, only 20+ minutes of RN time/resident/day for the year as a whole. Also for 2012, CMS expected 258-277 minutes of total RN/LPN/Aide time per resident per day, but again VHSI report only 214-219 minutes of total RN/LPN/Aide time/resident/day.

Since CMS uses the 2-week pre-inspection period for RN time/patient as a proxy for VHSI’s “staffing,” Walter Reed received a 3 of 5 as its star rating for 2012. However, if VHSI’s more representative year-long self-reporting were used for its 2012 star rating, it would have received only a 1 of 5, i.e., the lowest possible score on the star scale.

Moreover, by not staffing fully at CMS-expected levels, VHSI at Walter Reed alone saved an estimated $1,217,495.00 in 2012. Meanwhile in 2012, VHSI paid approximately $1,282,093.00 to “related parties,” including estimated excess payments of $159,300.00; plus claimed net income of at least $484,841.00.