This month’s bust of a major fraud ring involving workers at local assisted-living facilities shook the medical community in South Florida. Authorities arrested 21 people for selling or buying credentials that falsely claimed they were trained to provide medical care to residents in nursing homes.
Dubbed “Operation Cardiac Arrest” by law enforcement, police found that the alleged ringleader made the fake credentials in her apartment. People would then pay for false health-related certification in order to secure jobs as employees at assisted-living facilities or as private bus operators that transport residents.
NBC Miami reported that the scam was so widespread at one establishment that authorities had to shut down Yuli’s Place in southwest Miami-Dade County after officials found that everyone working at the facility had phony credentials. In fact, according to the Miami Herald, the owner of Yuli’s Place allegedly bought false certificates for a worker who had been cited by the state for not being trained in CPR.
The Miami Herald quoted Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle as saying, “This [scam] is being done for one reason: greed. At the heart of this are our most vulnerable people: the elderly and children.”
Health-care workers who specialize in caring for the elderly or people with disabilities need specialized training. For just $20, these scammers received fake credentials claiming they received certification from the Academy for Practical Nursing and Health Occupations in West Palm Beach — when, in fact, they had never attended the school.
In May, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), responsible for overseeing Florida’s health-care facilities, was not providing proper oversight to Florida’s assisted-living facilities. According to the article, the Miami Herald found that the AHCA failed to investigate dangerous practices, monitor shoddy operators, and shut down worst offenders, even after the police alerted the agency and its own inspectors on caretakers denying the residents of their basic needs.
Investigators are not sure how many more of the false forms are still in caretakers’ hands, or how many may be employed in jobs for which they are not qualified. However, they did say that the investigation is ongoing.
Our Treasure Coast nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys hope the police are able to find the remaining workers misrepresenting themselves as legitimate caretakers.
Members of our most vulnerable population, who are expecting care and support, may be in dangerous environments. Philip DeBerard, Injury Lawyer, urges people with loved ones in a Florida nursing home facility to monitor the treatment their loved ones are receiving and report any potential issues to authorities.
Contact a Trusted South Florida Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Attorney
If you suspect that a loved one has been harmed due to abuse or neglect in a Florida nursing home, a South Florida nursing home abuse attorney with more than 36 years of legal experience can evaluate the circumstances of their injuries and advise you on your legal options. I am attorney Philip DeBerard, Injury Lawyer. My legal practice concentrates on representing victims of serious accidents and injuries caused by the negligence of others, including medical malpractice and nursing home neglect and abuse.
Our law firm represents victims of nursing home abuse and neglect across South Florida, including Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Stuart, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, Palm Beach, and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast.
Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida nursing home abuse attorney or fill out our online contact form.