Conn. nursing home suspended from Medicaid

Bryan Cohen Jun. 13, 2011, 10:46am


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and the state Department of Social Services announced on Thursday that a former nursing home owner and his company have been suspended from the state's Medicaid program.

Earle Lerner, who formerly owned six Connecticut nursing homes, and his company, Marathon Health Care Group, are suspended from the program for 10 years for allegedly submitting false and misleading information for payment to the department. The 10-year suspension will prevent Learner from working for or owning any Connecticut healthcare provider that receives Medicaid funds.

Lerner and his healthcare company allegedly made false and misleading statements and misrepresentations in 2005 to obtain $700,000 in advance payments from DSS, most of which he allegedly used to purchase a nursing home in Springfield, Mass.

Lerner allegedly obtained an additional $771,000 advance payment from DSS in July 2006 after falsely claiming to need the money to pay for increased nursing costs at his Connecticut nursing homes. He allegedly failed to disclose that he required the money to pay debts still owed because of the Springfield purchase. DSS recovered all of the advance payments.

Lerner also allegedly violated state law between 2005 and 2007 by failing to deduct personal costs in cost reports submitted to DSS, enabling him to obtain payment for tens of thousands of dollars of luxury home improvements for his Manchester home and his Newport, R.I., vacation home.

"Abusing a system created to help care for state residents not only hurts Connecticut taxpayers but also undermines the quality of care for residents of those nursing facilities," Jepsen said. "We can't afford that kind of care."

Lerner's six Connecticut nursing homes were sold out of receivership in 2009. The Connecticut payments Lerner allegedly diverted to Springfield contributed to the financial collapse of these facilities.

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