Woodbriar Health Center To Pay Up To $200,000 In Settlement With Attorney General’s Office After Patient’s Death

BOSTON, MA — Attorney General Maura Healey announced Wednesday a series of settlements with seven different nursing homes to resolve allegations of systemic failures at their facilities that endangered nursing home residents.

The AG’s Office investigated reports of substandard care or regulatory violations at nursing homes based on complaints referred by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The AG’s Office found that these facilities had systemic issues that directly led to the death, injury or potential injury to nursing home residents.

“Every nursing home resident deserves to live in a safe environment, with dignity and access to high-quality care,” said AG Healey. “These settlements hold facilities accountable and will help restore the trust families need when making critical decisions about the care of their loved ones.”

“The Department of Public Health monitors the health and safety of residents in long-term care facilities throughout Massachusetts,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We will continue to investigate complaints of substandard care or violations to ensure that individuals residing in nursing homes are receiving high quality care.”

Woodbriar Health Center, of Wilmington, was among those nursing homes that agreed to a settlement with the AG’s Office. The recoveries obtained pursuant to the settlement will be split between a fund administered by DPH to improve the safety and quality of care provided in long-term care facilities and the state’s General Fund.

Synergy Health Centers, owner of the Woodbriar Health Center, has settled allegations that a resident fell from a mechanical lift while being transferred by only one certified nurse aide, and that staff miscommunicated regarding the resident’s X-ray results, such that her physician did not learn of her serious injuries in a timely fashion. The resident died thereafter, and the fall, failures of communication, and delay in care were substantial contributing factors to her death.

Synergy, also the owner of the Braemoor Health Center, has also settled allegations that nursing home staff there failed to attempt to resuscitate a resident when he became non-responsive during feeding, and then failed to timely report the death to DPH. The AG’s Office also alleges that the facility failed to ensure its nursing staff had adequate resuscitative training.

Synergy will pay between $100,000 to $200,000 to resolve the AG’s allegations against both Woodbriar and Braemoor. Synergy, and the company’s two owners, Avi Lipschutz and Dov Newmark, have agreed not to participate in federal or state government health care programs in Massachusetts for the next seven years. Currently, Woodbriar Heath Center is in the process of being sold, and Braemoor Health Center is closed.

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.

These matters were handled by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division, which is led by Division Chief Toby R. Unger. Assistant Attorneys General Kevin Lownds, Ian Marinoff, Jay McCormack, Ali Russo, and Anthony Vargas, Investigators Christine Baker, Erica Schlain, Mirlinda Sejdiu, April Waterhouse, and Ruth Zeltzer, and Victim Witness Advocate Amber Anderson participated in the investigation and negotiation of these settlements.

(NOTE: The above modified press release is from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.)

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