A Lauderdale County woman faces felony charges for allegedly stealing money from residents at a nursing home. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, state authorities look into thousands of complaints against care providers each year.
The former office manager of a Meridian nursing home, 39 year old Christy Moulds, is accused of stealing somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000 from vulnerable residents by falsifying documents. Treasure Tyson is Director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the State Attorney General's Office. She says her office investigates more than 2,000 complaints annually.
"We see anything from verbal to sexual, physical. Anywhere from screaming, mental anguish, verbal abuse, up to very severe injuries, broken bones, we've even had abuse that resulted in death."
Tyson says several hundred of the complaints result in criminal charges, typically against workers at a care facility. Rick Courtney is an elder law attorney. He advises families to fully investigate a nursing home before admitting a loved one to avoid problems down the road.
"Walk through the facility. Look at it and get a feel for the staff that they have there. And talk to other people who have family members in that facility."
And once they become a resident.
"The family members should check on them. Go by and visit. Take note of their situation regularly, and at frequent and irregular times, and stay in a good rapport with the administration."
The Mississippi State Department of Health regulates nursing homes. The health department keeps surveys and complaints on all facilities in the state available for public view on its website.