The United States Department of Justice recently issued a press release stating that the government has filed a complaint under the False Claims Act against nursing care facilities owned and operated by Vanguard Healthcare, LLC. Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, Vanguard operates 14 long term nursing care facilities throughout the United States. The government alleges that various Vanguard facilities violated the False Claims Act by submitting pre-admission forms containing forged physician and nurse signatures.

Through its complaint, the government also alleges that from 2010 to 2015, Vanguard’s nursing facilities failed to provide basic and essential nursing care services to its residents. Examples of inadequate care include chronic staffing and supply shortages, failure to provide infection control, wound care and failure to administer proper medications.

As part of its press release, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, David Rivera, stated that the government “will continue to hold accountable those who profit from the care of elderly Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, including nursing home operators, while providing non-existent or grossly substandard care.” The government’s pursuit of the False Claim action against Vanguard is part of the government’s Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action (“HEAT”) initiative which was announced in May of 2009. The HEAT initiative is a partnership between the United States Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Jason Cornell is an attorney who represents whistleblowers with the law firm Clark Fountain LaVista Prather Keen & Littky-Rubin. Clark Fountain represents plaintiffs in various matters throughout the United States. If you have questions regarding the issues addressed in this or other posts, you can reach Jason at jcornell@clarkfountain.com.