Hidden Camera Investigation At Queens Nursing Home Reveals Neglect And Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the arrest of nine employees of the Hollis Park Manor Nursing Home in Queens, where a hidden camera revealed evidence of widespread patient neglect and falsification of patient records. Among those arrested was a physician who served as the Medical Director of the nursing home, two licensed practical nurses and six nurse aides.

According to the complaints filed in the cases announced today, a secret camera was installed in the room of a Hollis Park patient and it recorded care given to the patient over a five week period.

The camera revealed that Hollis Park staff failed to provide required care for this patient as follows:

  • To prevent contractures, this patient’s physician ordered that the patient receive 30 minutes of range of motion therapy twice each day. The camera revealed that the patient consistently did not receive this therapy.

  • To prevent the development of dangerous pressure sores or promote their healing, the patient was required to be turned and positioned every two hours and to receive incontinence care every two hours as well, but the camera revealed that the patient often went without this care.

  • To ensure proper nutrition and hydration, the patient was supposed to receive total assistance while eating. The camera further revealed that the patient often failed to receive assistance in eating and often went without eating or drinking at all.

  • To avoid seizures, combat pressure sores, prevent depression, reduce pain, and to maintain proper nutrition, the patient was required to receive a series of medications, including Tegretol, an anti-seizure medication, Celexa and Remeron, anti-depressants, Baclofen, a muscle relaxant and pain reducer, and a liquid protein nutrition supplement. The camera revealed that the nurses charged often failed to administer these medications as prescribed.

"This is the third nursing home in which my office has announced that we have used a hidden camera to monitor the care provided to patients. Once again, our camera revealed chronic patient neglect and pervasive falsification of care records by nursing home employees," Spitzer said.

"Our nursing home patients deserve better. New York’s nursing homes, health oversight agencies, and health professions must undertake measures to ensure that proper care is delivered by staff and that professional and certified employees truthfully document the care actually rendered."

The complaints further allege that in order to cover up their neglect, each of the defendants falsified the patient’s care records to record that they had provided the required care that they had, in fact, not provided.

Dr. Howard Cohn, 50, of Merrick, NY, the former Medical Director of Hollis Park is charged with two counts each of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, Wilful Violation of Health Laws (Patient Neglect), both misdemeanors, and Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree, an E Felony carrying a maximum prison term of four years. According to the complaint, Cohn claimed to have examined the patient on two occasions, once to conduct a monthly physical exam and once to treat lung and abdomen problems. In fact, the videotapes demonstrated that he had entered the room of the patient on only one of the days and on that day all he did was peer at the patient without conducting an examination.

The remaining defendants, listed below, are each charged with one count each of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person and Wilful Violation of Health Laws (Patient Neglect) and multiple counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.

  • Dollene Singh, CNA, 37, Queens Village, New York
  • Earline Manning, CNA, 49, St. Albans, New York
  • Marlene Polynice, LPN, 62, Hollis, New York
  • Shaunette Fainfare, LPN, 31, Queens Village, New York
  • Marquise Altidor, CNA, 41, Cambria Heights, New York
  • Jennifer Lyte, CNA, 46, St. Albans, New York
  • Pauline Coles, CNA, 30, Jamaica, New York
  • Terri L. Galloway, CNA, 37, Jamaica, New York

To date across the state, nine nursing home employees have been convicted based on evidence produced by hidden cameras and 19 others, including the nine arrested today, are facing charges. In addition, one nursing home has been criminally charged and another has been sued. The investigation at Hollis Park Manor is continuing.

This case is part of MFCU’s ongoing nursing home initiative. It is being prosecuted by Cassandra Bethel, Chief of the Patient Protection Section and Betty Rodriguez, Assistant Attorney General under the supervision of Peter Bloch, MFCU First Assistant Attorney General, assisted by Investigators Brian Dunne, Mary McEntee, and Perdro Foruria; Investigative Medical Analyst Catherine Mosher, R.N., and Auditors Arthur Lipstein, Yehuda Scheff and Andrea D’Alessio

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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