Former employees charged in Grand Rapids Home for Veterans investigation

Attorney General Bill Schuette  announced on Monday that charges have been filed in the 61st District Court in Kent County against 11 former caregivers of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans (GRHV).  Schuette also released a report providing additional details associated with his investigation of the home, which can be found at the bottom of this news release.
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.

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.”

Schuette’s investigation began immediately after the Michigan Auditor General issued a report in February of 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.  While the federal Veterans Administration provides oversight of the home, it is operated and managed by the State of Michigan.

The Attorney General’s report also documents in detail the Attorney General Health Care Fraud Division’s  investigations into five incidents which involved death or injury. For a variety of reasons, there was not enough evidence found (or the evidence found ran counter to the original allegations) to bring charges in any of the five. The report notes that additional training requirements did result from at least one of the incidents.

As the report also indicates, a package of bills signed into law in early 2017 created the Michigan Veterans  Facility Authority, a semi-autonomous agency within  the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran  Affairs, which has the authority to issue bonds and  operate, renovate, and construct veterans’ homes in  the state.
 
Defendants and Charges

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. The following were charged with violating MCLN?750.492a, intentional inclusion in patient medical records or charge of misleading or inaccurate information”

Tyisha Toliver, 40, of Grand Rapids, four counts

Doris Penny, 59, of Grand Rapids, three counts

Eric Anderson, 59, of Holland, one count

Jasmine Ferrer, 27, of Wyoming, one count

Cary Gerencer, 52, of Sand Lake, one count

Sheryl Hillyer, 62, of Lansing, one count

Lolitta Jackson, 39, of Grand Rapids, one count

Emina Kahriman, 53, of Grand Rapids, two counts

Michelle Longmire, 49, of Muskegon, one count

Roconda Singleton, 39, of Grand Rapids, one count

Sequoyah Thomas, 23, of Grand Rapids, one count

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

The Attorney General Health Care Fraud Division exists to identify, prosecute, and prevent fraudulent activity by doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and other health care providers participating in the Medicaid program. It is vital that taxpayer dollars providing health care to indigent patients and other recipients be spent effectively. Fraud affects everyone including the recipients of care, the taxpayers who pay for it, and the overwhelming majority of providers who conscientiously provide quality care.

Anyone aware of misconduct at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is encouraged to report it to the Health Care Fraud Division by calling 800-24-ABUSE.