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Eleven charged in Veteran’s Home investigation

The 13-month investigation included dozens of interviews, comprehensive review of all emergency records now detailed in new report.

Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette filed charges today in Grand Rapids 61st District Court against eleven former caregivers of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, including a Sand Lake woman.

The charges resulted from a 13-month long investigation. Schuette’s investigation began immediately after the Michigan Auditor General issued a report in February 2016 that was highly critical of operations and conditions at the home. The charges filed today flow from one of the findings in the Auditor General report dealing with falsification of room checks at the GRHV.

In order to help ensure the health and safety of veterans residing at the GRHV, regular room checks were required to be performed. However, in many instances, evidence showed that staff did not perform the checks, yet falsely charted that they did.

All eleven former employees were charged with one or more counts of violating MCL 750.492a, intentional inclusion in patient medical records or charts of misleading or inaccurate information.

While the federal Veterans Administration provides oversight of the home, it is operated and managed by the State of Michigan. The former employees being charged came from a private firm.

According to the Michigan Veteran’s Affairs Agency (MVAA), the charges stem from actions that occurred in August 2015.

“At the time of the alleged activities, the individuals charged were employed as certified nursing assistants (CENA) by a former contractor, J2S, who provided CENA services at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans until Oct. 1, 2016,” reported James Redford, Director of the MVAA. “The former contracted staff members are alleged to have falsified medical documents. A state audit of the GRHV issued on Feb. 19, 2016, indicated that CENAs documented in medical records that member location checks had been completed when they had not taken place.

“Since February 2016, everyone at MVAA and the Michigan Veterans Health System has been working very hard to address all findings of the audit, and substantial progress has been made,” Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director James Robert Redford said.

An intentional or willful violation of MCL 750.492a by a healthcare provider is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. Those being charged include:

Tyisha Toliver, 40, of Grand Rapids, is charged with four counts of violating MCL 750.492a, intentional inclusion in patient medical records or charts of misleading or inaccurate information;

Doris Penny, 59, of Grand Rapids, is charged with three counts;

Eric Anderson, 59, of Holland, is charged with one count;

Jasmine Ferrer, 27, of Wyoming, is charged with one count;

Cary Gerencer, 52, of Sand Lake is charged with one count;

Sheryl Hillyer, 62, of Lansing, is charged with one count;

Lolitta Jackson, 39, of Grand Rapids, is charged with one count;

Emina Kahriman, 53, of Grand Rapids, is charged with two counts;

Michelle Longmire, 49, of Muskegon, is charged with one count;

Roconda Singleton, 39, of Grand Rapids, is charged with one count;

Sequoyah Thomas, 23, of Grand Rapids is charged with one count.

“We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude for their service to our country. Allegations that our veterans are being abused or neglected runs counter to the duty we owe them. These allegations were thoroughly investigated by my office,” said Schuette. “This announcement does not represent the end of scrutiny of the GRHV or the close of the investigation. We will continue to aggressively follow up on any new complaints of abuse or neglect of veterans at the home.”

Anyone aware of misconduct at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is encouraged to report it to Attorney General Schuette’s Health Care Fraud Division by calling 80024ABUSE.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

You can find a report from Michigan Attorney Bill Schuette on the investigation into the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans with this story by clicking the link below.

WEB-Report GR+Home+for+Veterans_finalspread.pdf

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