Miami Nursing Home’s License ‘Hangs in the Balance’
A North Miami nursing home’s licensure status remains uncertain following a recent bout of alleged criminal activity by its owners.
According to a settlement agreement released by the Agency for Health Care Administration last week, the license for The Pines Nursing Home—located at 301 NE 14 Street—would be changed from “standard status to provisional status” if no Change of Ownership documentation is filed with the Agency over the next three months.
The settlement agreement stems from a 2013 Medicaid fraud investigation. It was then that Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office arrested Pine’s Nursing Home owners Mr. Julius Ast and Ms. Lana Goldfinger for conspiring to commit Medicaid fraud. Charges were filed against the two for falsifying invoices under fraudulent business names and submitting them to the Pines Nursing Home for payment. The nursing home paid more than $390,000 in false claims to the two using Medicaid funds.
“The detestable actions by these owners were grossly irresponsible and now leave the nursing home’s license hanging in the balance,” said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care. “This is an unnerving situation for residents and their families and for the employees of The Pines Nursing Home.”
The settlement agreement further stipulated: 1) any prospective buyers of the nursing home shall not be “associated” with the former owners; 2) Mr. Ast and Ms. Goldfinger are prohibited from “participation in the Medicaid program” for the next 20 years; 3) and the facility must pay the state of Florida $972,560.45 for a mixture of “unpaid invoices”, “overpayments”, and “dishonored check fees” within five days of purchase by a new owner.
“Attorney General Bondi and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit are to be commended for their outstanding work in seeing that justice was served on behalf of taxpayers, especially in the case of those who take advantage of elderly nursing home residents,” Lee stated. “Safeguarding taxpayer dollars earmarked for nursing home resident care must continue to be a top priority for our state officials.”