Many Texas families place their elderly members in nursing homes to ensure that they will receive proper medical care and that their living conditions will be adequate for their care and comfort. Most nursing home operators take great care to maintain an adequate standard of care for their clients, but the owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes was recently arrested and charged with several crimes arising out of his failure to provide proper care to his elderly patients during Hurricane Ida.
The owner of the nursing homes had already lost state and federal licenses for crowding elderly residents into a warehouse in the town of Independence, approximately 70 miles northwest of New Orleans, during the onset of Hurricane Ida. When investigators visited the facility, they found ill and bed-ridden elderly patients lying on mattresses on a wet floor. Some were crying for help, and some were lying in their own bodily waste. One doctor observed several patients who had been taken to the facility without their medicine.
State officials who visited the facility said that conditions deteriorated quickly during the storm. Power generators failed. Some residents went hours past mealtimes with no food.
Recent arrest and criminal charges
The owner of the homes was arrested in Tangipahoa Parish in Louisiana, and he was charged with Medicaid fraud, cruelty to the infirm and obstruction of justice. Texas attorney general Jeff Landry said that the criminal charges stem from allegations that the owner billed Medicaid for charges that were not related to proper patient care of patients. Landry also said that the defendant engaged in “conduct intended to intimidate or obstruct public health officials and law enforcement.”
The defendant in this case is facing both serious federal charges and serious state criminal charges. The assistance of an experienced criminal attorney will be essential to mounting an adequate defense to the criminal charges and to the violations that led to the suspension of his nursing home licenses.