2001-12-22 / Front Page

Rough Seas For ‘Ocean House’ Far Rockaway Nursing Home Faces License Revocation

By Gary G. Toms

Rough Seas For Ocean House'
Far Rockaway Care Facility
Faces License Revocation
By Gary G. Toms

State officials have announced that they are moving forward with steps to revoke the operating certificate of Ocean House, located at 12-14 Heyson Road in Far Rockaway, which is a 125-bed not-for-profit care facility for the mentally disabled. The action comes as result of an investigation that found the faciliy's operators had collected payments from Medicaid for "ill-defined and duplicate services" and other "unscrupulous practices."

According to the Commission on Quality Care for the Mentally Disabled, Sherman Taub, an attorney who once practiced in the Flushing area, had secretly seized control of the facility through " a maze of real estate and money-shuffling transactions."

The state's Office of Mental Health claimed that Taub and his family were able to make a profit from various personal transactions that were contrary to the financial interest of the center and its occupants.

"These ill-gotten gains resulted from charging that not-for-profit corporation $4 million through Taub's own mortgage company for a mortgage on the care center, which he purchased for only $400,000," the release said.

"I am outraged by the findings of the New York State Commission on Quality of Care regarding the Ocean House facility," stated Assemblywoman Pauline Rhodd-Cummings.

"My office has been briefed by the Commission and I am distressed to learn that a lengthy investigation has resulted in the discovery of many disturbing practices such as Medicaid dollars paid to outside providers for potentially ill-defined and duplicative services, much to the detriment of the Ocean House residents."

The State Commission investigators noted that two salaried psychiatrists at the facility's mental health clinic may have double-billed Medicaid to the tune of $70,000 for services already included in the center's $141 Medicaid clinic rate. They also found that Ocean House improperly billed Medicaid $16,000 because it could not document 794 trips by the facility's residents to see doctors or to obtain other health services.

"My immediate concern is for the current residents of Ocean House," explained the Assemblywoman.

"We must ensure that the residents and their families receive assistance as the facility changes ownership or the residents are transferred to another facility. Various options are being explored at this time. My office will work closely with the Commission on Quality Care, the NYS Department of Health, and the State Attorney General's office to protect the residents of Ocean House and to improve the quality of life for individuals with mental disabilities residing in all adult facilities in New York State," concluded Assemblywoman Rhodd-Cummings.

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