Friday, August 24, 2007

Whitmore Lake nursing home part of health care fraud probe

Northfield Place of Whitmore Lake was one of four nursing homes statewide under investigation by authorities for allegations ranging from health care fraud to poor patient care, authorities revealed Monday.

The company that owns those nursing homes - and 30 across Michigan - entered into a settlement agreement announced Monday that includes repaying $1.25 million to Medicare and Medicaid and agreeing to outside monitoring.

The settlement resulted from an investigation by the state Attorney General's Office and U.S. Department of Justice that began around 2001, officials said.

Northfield Place, a 114-bed facility, is owned by Southfield-based Ciena Healthcare Management. The other three nursing homes that were investigated are located in Detroit. Locally, Ciena also owns Riverview of Ann Arbor on Huronview Boulevard.

Harry Slater, administrator for Northfield Place, referred a call from The News to the company's legal counsel. The company issued a statement Monday denying any wrongdoing and said a settlement was reached to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, and Matt Frendewey, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, said they could not reveal specifics on what was alleged or found at Northfield Place.

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