AG Healey Reaches $90000 Settlement With Milton Nursing Home Over Emergency Response Failures and Neglect of Resident Resulting in Death –

BOSTONAttorney General Maura Healey today announced a $90,000 settlement with a Milton nursing home to resolve allegations that it committed neglect of a resident, which resulted in death, and failed to comply with regulations requiring nursing staff to have adequate competencies to care for residents in emergency situations.

The settlement with Milton HC Operating, LLC, which operates Brush Hill Care Center, requires the company to pay $90,000, which will be distributed to the Long-Term Care Facility Quality Improvement Fund, a fund administered by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to improve the safety and quality of care provided in long-term care facilities. Brush Hill will also be required to implement an internal compliance program and annually certify compliance with long-term care regulations to the AG’s Office for a period of three years.

“Nursing homes are required by law to have protocols in place to ensure adequate treatment of residents and to handle emergency situations appropriately,” said AG Healey. “This settlement holds this facility responsible for failing to comply with those regulations, resulting in the tragic death of a resident. We’ll continue to prioritize cases like this to protect the health and safety of nursing home residents.”

“DPH is committed to ensuring the safety and quality of all health care facilities in the Commonwealth,” said DPH Acting Commissioner Margret R. Cooke. “It is essential that we continue to hold accountable facilities that do not maintain the highest level of care for our residents.”

The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division began an investigation in 2019 after a referral from DPH. The investigation found that, on October 30, 2017, a resident was found unresponsive and was having difficulty breathing. The AG’s Office alleges that Brush Hill failed to adequately respond to the emergency situation, that there was a delay in designating the situation as an emergency, that Brush Hill staff did not call a Code Blue on the intercom, and there was an undue delay in contacting EMTs after finding the resident unresponsive. The resident died later that day.

This settlement also resolves allegations that Brush Hill failed to comply with long-term care regulations requiring facilities to ensure staff competencies in emergency response because staff were not sufficiently educated about emergency response protocols and Brush Hill did not maintain sufficient policies related to emergency response issues.

This settlement is part of AG Healey’s efforts to hold long-term care facilities accountable when they fail to meet the needs of residents. In February, AG Healey filed “An Act strengthening the Attorney General’s tools to protect nursing home residents and other patients from abuse and neglect,” with co-sponsors Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Ruth Balser. This legislation strengthens the civil enforcement tools used by the AG’s Office to address abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled patients, whether they are cared for at home or in nursing homes. The bill increases the civil penalties that the office can seek for the mistreatment, abuse, or neglect of nursing home residents or other covered patients and increases the time in which the office can bring a civil suit from two years to four years.

In April, the AG’s Office settled with Sweet Brook of Williamstown Rehabilitation and Nursing Center to resolve allegations that it failed to adequately meet the needs of and appropriately care for residents, and failed to ensure that nurses and certified nursing assistants had the necessary competencies to provide services for residents.

In 2019, AG Healey reached a series of settlements with seven different nursing homes to resolve allegations of systemic failures at their facilities that endangered nursing home residents after investigations found that these facilities had practices that directly led to the death, injury, or potential injury to residents.

Members of the public who are aware of similar practices by other nursing homes or health care providers should call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at (617) 963-2360 or file a complaint through DPH’s website.

This case was handled by Managing Attorney Kevin Lownds and Investigator Mirlinda Sejdiu, of AG Healey’s Medicaid Fraud Division, and Victim Witness Advocate Lia Panetta of AG Healey’s Victim Services Division. DPH provided substantial assistance in the investigation.  

The Medicaid Fraud Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award. The remaining 25 percent is funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.