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Post date: June 26 2007

Cortland Nurse Pleads Guilty To Neglect, Falsifying Records

ALBANY, NY (June 26, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a former nurse at Cortland’s Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care facility pleaded guilty for neglecting two residents and then falsifying their medical charts to cover it up.

This is the latest conviction in a series of cases arising out of an investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit that used video surveillance in a resident’s room to document the neglect.

“This case shows how technology can be put to good use in combating health care fraud,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “By monitoring a patient’s lack of care – with the proper privacy safeguards put in place – my office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has been able to root out health care workers who do not have our loved ones’ best interests at heart.”

Licensed Practical Nurse Teresa Loy, 51, of Port Watson St., Cortland, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the 2nd Degree, 17 counts of Willful Violation of the Health Laws (all misdemeanors) and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the 1st Degree (a felony) before Judge Julie Campbell in Cortland County court. Loy faces a maximum 4 years in prison when she is sentenced August 16.

To uncover the neglect, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit commenced an investigation using hidden video surveillance cameras in a total-care patient’s room. The patient was in a chronic vegetative state. Loy failed to apply a necessary skin ointment to prevent skin breakdown, failed to follow gastrointestinal tube protocol, and failed to ensure that the patient was turned and repositioned every two hours. Additionally, to attempt to cover up further neglect, Loy falsified the medical chart of another patient after being arraigned for her neglect of the first resident.

Several other health care workers have been convicted of neglect and falsifying records through the same investigation. Steve Nadeau, a Certified Nurse Aide, was sentenced to three years’ probation for his conviction after trial of falsifying the business records of the facility and neglecting a resident; Renee Fulmer and Mary Kenyon, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Judy Abreu-Boswell, a Certified Nurse Aide, pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. A case against Northwoods’ owner, Highgate LTC Management, LLC, is pending.

The cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Ralph D. Tortora, III and were investigated by Supervising Special Investigator Michael J. Brady, Special Investigator Christopher M. Burns, Principal Special Auditor/Investigator Paul V. DeMartino, Supervising Special Auditor/Investigator Ronald H. Sienkiewicz, Medical Analyst Tina M. Dentino, Senior Special Investigator Patrick M. Lynch, and Senior Special Investigator Michael J. Ostuni.