SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As KELOLAND Investigates has reported, Joseph Schwartz, the former owner of Skyline Healthcare, is now facing a litany of federal charges and state charges in Arkansas, in relation to his dealings in the nursing home business.
Despite that, as KELOLAND Investigates has uncovered, Schwartz and his immediate family are still allowed to operate various nursing homes across the country.
Even without their former Skyline Healthcare empire, Joseph Schwartz, his wife, Rosie, and his son Louis, continue to operate various nursing homes throughout the country.
According to new 2022 data on nursing homeownership from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS for short, Joseph Schwartz still owns four nursing homes, one in Illinois and three in New Jersey.
His wife Rosie, who is now also named in South Dakota’s civil suit against Joseph Schwartz and was an owner of Skyline Healthcare, is listed as the owner of Oak Lawn Respiratory & Rehab in Oak Lawn Illinois.
And their son Louis, once a vice president at Skyline, is listed as an owner of the New Jersey nursing home that was the scene of one of a horrific COVID-19 outbreak. In April of 2020, acting on a tip, officials found 17 bodies stacked in a morgue meant to hold four people. The owners were fined more than $200,000 for compliance issues.
Louis Schwartz has ownership in another New Jersey home as well, plus two in Pennsylvania and one in Florida.
If Joseph Schwartz is eventually convicted on any of the felony charges, he would be banned from taking part in Medicare and Medicaid programs, but that would not affect the ownership of his wife and son.
We asked the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services why the Schwartzes could continue to have ownership in nursing homes and received the following response:
Based on agency protocol, CMS does not comment on active litigation or other court actions. CMS continues to urge the public to stay alert to protect themselves against COVID-19 scams. Bad actors look to take advantage of people during times of crisis and are often more aggressive and creative when targeting people with Medicare – particularly seniors. CMS is committed to preventing fraud and protecting people with Medicare from falling victim to scams. Throughout the pandemic, CMS has taken swift and aggressive action to identify and investigate fraud and support law enforcement agencies. These efforts, in close partnership with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Inspector General, have saved hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and led to several large-scale takedowns. Additionally, we continue a steady drumbeat of outreach to the public on how to notice, protect themselves from, and report COVID-19 fraud. Our top tip is to guard your Medicare number just like your Social Security and credit cards. You should only share your Medicare number with trusted health care providers or verified COVID-19 vaccine administrators.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Coming up Monday, in our continuing investigation into Schwartz and the Skyline Healthcare saga, we take a look at the official action South Dakota is now taking against Joseph and Rosie Schwartz and hear from those involved in a federal class-action lawsuit against Schwartz, including the former South Dakota Skyline employee who is representing other employees in the case.