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Deathtoll Rises at Florida Nursing Home

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MIAMI (AP) —  The number of deaths at a nursing home in Florida in connection with Hurricane Irma has risen to eight.

The office of the Broward Medical Examiner and Trauma Services issued a news release Wednesday afternoon with the names of the victims. Three of the victims were found dead early Wednesday at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, after police got a call about a person with a heart attack. Police say the others died at the hospital or on the way. The victims range in age from 71 to 99.

 

The manager of a Florida nursing home has a history of health-care fraud accusations.

Federal court records show the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami filed civil charges in 2004 against Dr. Jack Michel, several other individuals, and several businesses, including Larkin Health Systems. Larkin Health Systems owns The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where three patients were found dead at the nursing home early Wednesday after police got a call about a person with a heart attack. Police say three more died at the hospital or on the way.

In 1997, before Michel owned Larkin, federal prosecutors say he and others participated in a kickback scheme that involved paying doctors for referrals and admission to Larkin Community Hospital. Prosecutors say that after he bought the hospital in 1998, Michel and others fraudulently increased the number of patients at the facility, along with their Medicare and Medicaid revenues, by bringing in patients from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

The case was settled in 2006 for $15.4 million.

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