Guardian Elder Care Holdings was owned and controlled by Peter Varischetti. He settled with the federal government because whistle-blower complaints proved he provided unnecessary rehab therapy to residents – some with dementia or in hospice care – to make money, overlooking clinical needs of patients. The care they received was “medically unreasonable, unnecessary, unskilled and possibly harmful,” the civil suit said.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said in a news release Guardian Elder Care pressured its therapists to provide gratuitous services for a higher Medicare reimbursement from 2011 through 2017.
“Too much rehabilitation therapy can actually harm patients, just like giving them too many pills or too much medicine,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain. “And of course it harms taxpayers who foot the bill for unnecessary treatment.”
Guardian only had to pay back $15.5 million to settle claims the company provided dangerous services for more profit. In addition to paying $15.5 million, Guardian entered into a “corporate integrity agreement” with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to “encourage future compliance”. Hold on. What. They are still letting this criminal operate a nursing home? Ridiculous.
The heroes are the two former Guardian employees who were whistle-blowers under the False Claims Act, which permits citizens to sue on behalf of the United States and share settlement money.