In an indicator of prosecutors' growing interests in quality-of-care crimes, the Allegheny County, Pa., district attorney charged a nursing home administrator with felony neglect, involuntary manslaughter and criminal conspiracy in connection with the exposure death of an 88-year-old woman. The criminal charges against nursing home administrator Martha Bell and the Ronald Reagan Atrium I Nursing, Research and Rehabilitation Center in Robinson, Pa., are the culmination of a two-year investigation by the district attorney, county police, HHS' inspector general's office and the state health department. The resident died after she was locked out of the home in cold weather, and staff members allegedly tried to disguise her death as natural. Bell denied the allegations in statements to investigators. Nursing home officials could not be reached for comment at deadline. In recent years, the nursing home has drawn frequent scrutiny, including a subpoena last year by the U.S. attorney in Johnstown, Pa., seeking evidence of double-billing. HHS and the U.S. Justice Department have collaborated on a number of failure-of-care investigations involving nursing homes in recent years, but few have resulted in criminal charges. -- by Mark Taylor
Criminal charges filed in nursing home quality case
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