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New York Attorney General Letitia James sues owners of Long Island nursing home

The suit is the third her office has filed against nursing home entities in the past six weeks.
The Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, in Woodbury, N.Y. on April 23, 2020.
The Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, in Woodbury, N.Y., on April 23, 2020. Steve Pfost / Newsday via Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the owners of a Long Island nursing home who also have stakes of dozens of other facilities nationwide. It is the third suit she has filed in six weeks alleging financial fraud and abuse of nursing home residents.

Friday’s suit alleges that the owners and operators of a Woodbury, N.Y., nursing home named Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation engaged in “years of financial fraud” leading to the diversion of more than $22 million in Medicaid and Medicare funds that starved the facility of resources, leading to “severe understaffing and resident neglect.”

“Cold Spring Hills’ owners put profits over patient care and left vulnerable New Yorkers to live in heartbreaking and inhumane conditions,” said James.

The facility is owned in part by Bent Philipson, who also has an ownership stake in 68 nursing homes nationwide, and Benjamin Landa, who also has an ownership stake in at least 100 other facilities, according to investigators at the AG’s office.

The two men did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Among other allegations, the lawsuit states that one resident was at the facility for five months and received just three showers. Another resident told the AG’s office that after a car accident he was recovering from at the Cold Spring facility, he was admitted to the hospital “for severe malnutrition, dehydration” and a severe pressure sore, all of which he attributes to his time in the facility.

One of the previous lawsuits targeted Fulton Commons Nursing Home in East Meadows, N.Y. The owner, Moshe Kalter, did not respond to a request for comment. 

The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion, N.Y., was sued by the attorney general at the end of November. The company is owned in part by Bernard Fuchs, who did not respond for a request for comment. A hearing is scheduled for the end of January.  

The Villages is also partially owned by Benjamin Landa. His lawyer Howard Fensterman told Market Watch in late November that the AG’s lawsuit “has no merit whatsoever” and said that Landa owns just 8% of the nursing home entity and is not responsible for its operations.