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February 24, 2006     Cape Gazette
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umm ,n Briefly Lewes continues annual budget review process Lewes Mayor and Council will continue review of the draft budget for fiscal year 2006-07 at 10:30 a.m Thursday, March 2, in City Hail. Following budget review the council will hold an executive session to discuss personnel matters. Executive ses- sions are closed to the public. The panel will return to open session for any action on matters discussed in executive session. contractors and basically teaching them a whole new process," said Murphy. "It's really taken the wind out of the sails on a lot of them," he said. Murphy said he and his staff receive at least three questions each day pertaining m the city's compre- hensive tree ordinance. "We've had a lot of questions - lots of questions," he said. Murphy is working with Rehoboth Commissioner Dennis Barbour to fine-tune the ordinance. Officials are also working with Milford arborist Bill Pike, who was hired by the city in January. Pike assists the city on Tuesdays and Thursdays concerning trees. CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, Feb. 24 - Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 - 3 Lewes architectural panel to review Lingo project The Lewes Commercial Architectural Review Commission will meet at 7 p.m Thursday, March 2, in City Hall. Items on the agenda include a presentation by Michael Sing of Calvin Clendaniel Associates Architects, on behalf of Jack Lingo Inc owners of property located at 1240 Kings Highway. The project would add a second floor and new set or stairs over a portion of the existing office. An entry porch would be demolished and rebuilt. Siding, trim and accent colors would remain the same. The panel will also discuss and possibly revise the application process, demolition regulations and sign ordinance. Rehoboth contractors learning tree rules David Murphy, Rehoboth Beach building and licensing inspector, said he is instruct- ing contractors on tree ordinance details at a Tuesday, Feb. 21, commissioner's meet- ing. " More and more, we are training Planners review Sussex West phase, Hasting plan postponed The state's Preliminary Land Use Service (PLUS) reviewed a new phase for the Sussex West development, off Route 9, out- side of Lewes, during the Wednesday, Feb. 22 meeting in Dover. Kevin Burdette and Ron Sutton of McCrone Industries in Milton presented plans for 82 manufactured homes on 20 acres in the Sussex West development. Burdette said the property has been slat- ed for:development and was included under the originai conditional-use request, filed with the state and county, seeking a higher density. The phase currently before PLUS pro- poses units on 6,600-square-foot lots, instead of the 7,500-square-foot lots required in the environmentally sensitive district. State planners recommended hydrants for fire safety, even though they were not included in the original phases of the devel- opment, but overall state planners appeared pleased with this phase of Sussex West. Hasting Hollow, also on the agenda for Laura Ritter photo Subdivision sought on School Lane A major subdivision request has been made for 501 School Lane, near Rehoboth Elementary School. Evelyn and Melissa Thoroughgood are the applicants, according to the Rehoboth Beach Building and Licensing Department. "Because it's a major subdivision, it's under review by the plan- ning commission," said a representative with the building department. The application has not yet been put on any agenda, and no date has been selected for a review, but the Rehol)oth Beach Planning Commission referred to the application at its Feb. 1B meeting. state review, was postponed. The developers plan to build the 276-unit development on 204 acres east Route 30, across from Neptune Road (Sussex 251) and southwest of Milton. The Hasting parcel has been in farmland preservation for the last 10 years, but that designation ends in 2006, allowing the owners to develop. This proposal was rescheduled for 12:15 p.m Wednesday, March 1, in Dover. The meeting is open to the public. Tuman,Royal win honors as women in history Sussex County Council will present a proclamation to Rhonda Tuman on behalf of Delaware Technical & Community College for teaching the history of women for the past 12 years. The proclamation recognizes the work Delaware Technical & Community College has done each year to provide a platform to Continued on page 4 By Kerry Kester Cape Gazette staff The Delaware Attorney General's Office has made five arrests and is continuing to inves- tigate a case of alleged Medicaid fraud at Green Vailey Pavilion in Smyrna. A Milton woman and a Lewes woman were among four who have already been charged with felony offenses. There is a warrant to arrest a fifth woman. Sandra L. Edwards of Lewes and Mary J. Casper of Newark were charged with two counts of felony heaith-care fraud, felony conspiracy to commit health-care fraud, felony patient neglect and misdemeanor patient neglect. Denise M. Rhinehardt, formerly of Felton, is facing the same charges but is out of state and has not yet been arrested. Charged with felony health-care fraud and felony conspiracy to commit health-care fraud were Jann B. Cox of Milton and Mary L. Yarrington of Magnolia. According to Attorney General Carl C. Danberg, the investigation began two years ago and was a joint effort between state and fed- eral authorities, who share fund- ing responsibilities for Medicaid. The investigation began in May 2004, when a former employee at the nursing home met with Special Investigator Daniel Daly at the Delaware Department of COX EDWARDS Justice. According to the affidavit for probable cause, the employee told the investigator that Casper, nursing home administrator, either falsified or caused staff'mg records to be falsified. Medicaid law requires a minimum staffing ratio of 3.28 hours of direct care per resident per day. According to the affidavit, Casper "had personal knowledge that names would be added to staffing sheets to reflect that cer- tain employees were assigned to particular duties when it was known that the employees were not performing those duties." The employee also said the restorative nursing program was discontin- ued, which meant patients who needed to have their range of motion improved to help itk pressure ulcers were not receiving the care. Daly also interviewed the son of a patient. He claimed his moth- er spent extended periods of time without being repositioned and suffered from bed sores. A hired nurse expert who reviewed med- ical records from the nursing home found "consistent negli- gence and failures on the part of Green Valley Pavilion nursing staff directly caused and con- tributed to the decline and serious physical nature to " states the affidavit. The affidavit further sta~tes Rhinehardt intentionally missltat- ed the level of care provided to residents, and the former empkoy- ee interviewed told the investi/ga- tor she falsified Medicare amd Medicaid payments under direc- tion from her supervisors. The former employee also claimed the nursing home restorative program was set up so certified nursing assistants would work with resi- dents to help them with range-of- motion exercises. However, she told Daly, it was not a reasonable expectation for such a small stuff. " it was not possible for fine aides to do all the work they w~ere required to do in the time they hind to do it," states the affidavit. '"'If you are applying for 70 add-~ns and you have five aides that, antd I don't even latoxv i. ttte~ were all full time, you couldn't if you looked at their hours, how could you possibly be doing that for 70 patients?'" The affidavit also states Casper ended the position of a wound care nurse and added those responsibilities to other nurses. The witness also told Daiy she once saw Rhinehardt sign charts as though work had been done, but it had not. The affidavits states Cox was a floor nurse who took on the job of unit manager in charge of over- seeing the nursing staff. The affi- davit states Cox knew she was contributing to falsifying the doc- uments by forging signatures and otherwise falsifying the records, and she knew it was a crime. When the period for the Medicaid review drew near in 2003, Edwards, Yarrington and Rhinehardt spent time "cooking the books," states the affidavit. Another former employee told Daly she was aware she had been listed on staffing reports when she had not been at work, and Rhinehardt solicited her to sign a document that contained false entries. "[She] stated that she told Rhinehardt that she should not sign the document because she was hospitalized at the time these services were purported to have been performed and therefore cotttd trot have he:c~ w~atkit~ at the facility," states the affidavit. "On a typical day, [the witness] stated that a' half a dozen or more [completely dependent'residents] never got out of bed, nor did they get repositioned in order to pre- vent pressure sores and other heaith-threatening conditions. At times employees who were upset with the lack of care would phys- ically write their initials on the diapers of residents, along with the time that the diaper had been changed, and when returning to work the next day, the same dia- per would be on the same resi- dent. [She] stated that incompe- tent residents with no visitors were the most neglected patients because there was no one to com- plain about the neglect," the affi- davit states, noting the witness reported her concerns to Casper, Rhinehardt and Edwards, the director of nursing. The affidavit lists numerous other problems that occurred at the nursing home pertaining to patient care and falsifying records to receive Medicaid reimburse- ments. "We remain committed to the protection of our most vulnerable citizens by investigating potential abuse and vigorously prosecuting those who would take advantage of our senior citizens," said Danberg in a release issued by the &tttxt't~,~ Cxe.tter~l?~. ~((~e~ The current administrator at Green Valley Pavilion said all comments about the case must come from the corporate office. Comments were unavailable at press time.