Georgia Nursing Home Operator Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

A Sandy Springs, Georgia man was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison based on charges arising out of horrific conditions at nursing homes he operated.

George D. Houser and his wife Rhonda Washington Houser operated two nursing homes in Rome and another one in Brunswick between 2004 and 2007.  Each facility had about 100 residents.

Authorities say that Mr. Hauser billed Medicare and Georgia Medicaid about $41 million during that period and was paid $32.9 million based on his representations that he was providing a safe and clean environment, nutritious meals, and medical care for the residents.

In fact, a federal district judge found:

a long-term pattern and practice of conditions at [Houser’s] nursing homes that were so poor, including food shortages bordering on starvation, leaking roofs, virtually no nursing or housekeeping supplies, poor sanitary conditions, major staff shortages and safety concerns, that, in essence, any services that [Houser] actually provided were of no value to the residents.

A state inspector who visited one of the nursing homes in May 2007 found that flies, filth and stench made the environment “appalling” and “horrendous.”

Problems at the homes included inadequate staffing, leaking roofs, foul odors, rotting piles of uncollected garbage, and mold and mildew.

After complaints from families, staff, and vendors, the nursing homes were closed by the Georgia Department of Human Resources' Office of Regulatory Services in 2007.

Houser was convicted of conspiring with his wife to defraud Medicare and Medicaid by billing for “worthless services.”  He was also ordered to pay millions in restitution.

Authorities said he used the government funds to support a luxurious lifestyle and other business investments.

Elder abuse and neglect at nursing homes can take many forms, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse (including using powerful antipsychotic drugs to “manage” the residents)
  • Financial abuse, theft, and fraud
  • Injuries due to unsafe and unhealthy premises

Signs of abuse and neglect can include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Bed sores and rashes
  • Untreated infections
  • Dehydration, malnutrition, and weight loss
  • Sexually transmitted diseases and other indications of sexual abuse
  • Depression, lethargy, and lack of interest in visitors and surroundings

If you believe that a family member may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact Keith Bodoh, and Matt Nasrallah -- lawyers in Marietta Ga serving the Marietta, Cobb County and Metro Atlanta areas.  




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