NASHVILLE, Tenn. – U.S. Attorney Don Cochran has implemented an “all hands on deck” approach to better protect and serve senior citizens, as events such as the current COVID-19 pandemic and recent tornado destruction bring an infinite number of opportunities for fraudsters to prey upon those most vulnerable.
The Middle Tennessee Elder Justice Task Force has been actively engaged in efforts to:
- Pursue nursing homes, home health companies, skilled nursing facilities, medical providers, and other businesses that provide grossly substandard care or exploit programs that provide healthcare to seniors, such as Medicare, TennCare, and TRICARE;
- Investigate and prosecute financial scams targeting or disproportionately impacting seniors;
- Promote greater coordination with state and local partners to combat elder abuse;
- Provide public outreach, education, and awareness relating to elder abuse; and
- Provide training and resources to law enforcement to identify and respond to elder abuse.
Formed in 2016, the Middle Tennessee Elder Justice Task Force includes representatives from, among others, the FBI; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General; the IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability; the Tennessee Department of Health; the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office; the Tennessee Department of Human Services – Adult Protective Services; and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.
Last month, Attorney General William P. Barr also announced the launch of the Department of Justice’s National Nursing Home Initiative to coordinate and enhance civil and criminal efforts to pursue nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care to their residents.
This initiative is focusing on some of the worst nursing homes around the country and the Department already has initiated investigations into approximately thirty individual nursing facilities in nine states as part of this effort.
The National Nursing Home Initiative reflects the Justice Department’s larger strategy and commitment to protecting our nation’s seniors, coordinated by the department’s Elder Justice Initiative in conjunction with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. The Elder Justice Initiative and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are essential to the Department’s investigative and enforcement efforts against nursing homes and other long-term care entities that deliver grossly substandard care to Medicare, TRICARE, and Medicaid beneficiaries. The Initiative and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices also support the efforts of state and local prosecutors, law enforcement, and other elder justice professionals to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation, with the development of training, resources, and information. Learn more about the Justice Department’s Elder Justice and National Nursing Home Initiatives at http://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/.
In addition, last month, in response to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s directive, U.S. Attorney Cochran appointed a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to serve as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on matters relating to Coronavirus and disaster fraud, to direct the prosecution of Coronavirus-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness activities. Concerned citizens can report Coronavirus or disaster fraud to USATNM.COVID19@usdoj.gov, and fraud related to other government programs, including federally-funded healthcare programs to USATNM-WHISTLEBLOWER@usdoj.gov. For a brochure containing awareness/prevention and reporting information on Coronavirus fraud click here.
For more information on Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
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