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D. Leary Inspirational Award
est. 2002
Welcome to the Scams & Scoundrels page of Brain Injury Resource Center.  Our goal here is to provide you with alerts of scams that come to our attention.  In so doing it is hoped that you will avoid victimization.  We welcome submissions for this page, and we will post them as time allows. 
email suggestions to us at brain@headinjury.com

Brain-Injured in Nursing Homes Without Care Giffords Had

Brain Injured Warehoused in Nursing Homes

Dec. 28, 2012 (Bloomberg) -- People with brain injuries, who could benefit from specialized rehabilitative treatment, are languishing in U.S. nursing homes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. When funding for specialized care isn't available
nursing homes have been used as a last resort, regardless of the victim's age. Bloomberg's David Amstrong reports. (Source: Bloomberg) --http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-28/brain-injured-endure-nursing-homes-without-care-giffords-had.html
To contact the reporter responsible for this story: David Armstrong in Boston at darmstrong16@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gary Putka at gputka@bloomberg.net

Are patients at Effingham brain injury center out of control? Whistleblowers say so

EFFINGHAM Whistleblowers from Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center say the center is too understaffed to prevent the people in its care from becoming a danger to themselves or others. Their concerns are echoed by law enforcement officials and a next-door neighbor of the facility. Last week, a Lakeview receptionist said the facility's executive director, Thomas Horan, would not take calls from the media... Source: http://www.conwaydailysun.com/index.php/newsx/local-news/94439-lakeview-whistleblower
Copyright 2012 Union Leader Corp. (UnionLeader/ConwayDailySun)  -- December 20, 2012 
The Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation  (FINR ) staffff cregivers Bloodied Patients as Complaints Drew Laughter
By David Armstrong | Bloomberg News | Dec 14, 2012

Caregivers at a Florida center for the brain-injured beat patients, goaded them to fight each other and fondle female employees and in one instance laughed at complaints of mistreatment, according to investigative reports released under a court order to Bloomberg News.
The center, the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation, is fighting a state directive that it move about 50 patients to other facilities. That order followed a Bloomberg story revealing a history of violence at the center southeast of Tampa. At least five patients have died from alleged abuse or neglect there since 1998, two in the last two years.

The newly released records summarize 15 probes conducted by the Florida Department of Children and Families since 2008, including 12 that have never been disclosed before. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Kevin J. Carroll ordered the state to provide the reports, with the names of victims blacked out, after Bloomberg petitioned the court, arguing there was a compelling public interest.

The Wauchula-based facility, known as FINR, draws patients from across the U.S. and abroad and is said by competitors to be the largest such rehabilitation center in the country. the country. It often finds customers among the relatively few brain injured with legal settlements or insurance payments that enable them to pay premium prices. FINR charges some of them $300,000 a year. 
Find story online for related videos and comments: 
To contact the reporter responsible for this story: David Armstrong in Boston at darmstrong16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gary Putka at gputka@bloomberg.net 

Disabled children don't belong in nursing homes for the aged 

By The Miami Herald | November 30, 2012

Here's how the state of Florida justifies its practice of warehousing severely medically challenged children in nursing homes:

"They are strictly regulated to ensure that the appropriate services are provided specifically for children," noted part of a defensive statement from the state Agency for Health Care Administration. "They provide a safe, secure and enriching environment for the children in their care."

State health officials, then, might deign to consider Doris Freyre's experience: Marie, her profoundly disabled daughter, was sent to a nursing home at the insistence of social workers. Marie was 14. The Tampa mom had lovingly cared for her at home since birth.

Marie died in that Miami Gardens nursing home, struggling to breathe. None of the staff members thought enough to call a doctor.

It is beyond reason that the state is waging a pitched battle with the U.S. Department of Justice, which has slammed this policy of stashing "medically fragile" children and teens in nursing homes. 
Copyrighted by Bradenton Herald 

Justice Department Blasts Florida for Putting Disabled Children in Nursing Homes

By Jason Ryan | Sep 8, 2012 6:00am

A civil rights investigation by the Justice Department charges that the State of Florida has been unnecessarily institutionalizing hundreds of children by placing children with disabilities in nursing facilities designed for elderly patients in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Hundreds of children are currently segregated in nursing facilities throughout Florida. They are growing up apart from their families in hospital-like settings, among elderly nursing facility residents and other individuals with disabilities," said a Sept. 4, 2012 letter from Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi.

"They live segregated lives having few opportunities to interact with children and young adults without disabilities or to experience many of the social, educational and recreational activities that are critical to child development." Perez continued.

"The state's reliance on nursing facilities to serve these children violates their civil rights and denies them the full opportunity to develop bonds with family and friends."

However, Florida Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek said the Department of Justice letter was wrong.
Copyright © 2012 ABC News Internet Ventures. Yahoo! - ABC News Network - Read more on line at  

Read the DOJ Report - http://www.ada.gov/olmstead/documents/florida_findings_letter.doc
Read more about this matter: - https://duckduckgo.com/?q=florida+children+nursing+homes

Brain Center Stymied Abuse Investigators, Lawsuit Claims

By David Armstrong | Bloomberg News | 2012-10-03

Florida's federally-designated disability rights advocacy group sued one of the country's largest brain-injury centers, alleging the facility is blocking its efforts to probe complaints of recent patient mistreatment.

The Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation prevented an investigator from interviewing witnesses and from visiting locations on campus where alleged abuse occurred, according to the lawsuit, filed by Disability Rights Florida in U.S. District Court in Tampa. One investigator was asked to leave the Wauchula, Florida facility, the advocacy group said in the lawsuit.

One complaint involved a patient who was allegedly improperly restrained. The second concerns an allegation of two staffers physically abusing a patient. Both incidents occurred "within the past week or so," said Sylvia Smith, a spokeswoman for Disability Rights Florida.

The institute has always allowed the disability group "immediate and unlimited access to investigate abuse" charges, said Jay Adams, an attorney for the brain-injury facility, in an e-mailed statement. He said the center cooperates fully with the group and with state regulators "and it is unfortunate that they have filed this unsubstantiated complaint rather than focusing their resources and efforts on the health and well- being of Florida's disabled."
Bloomberg's Investigation:  Instead of providing care, Florida brain center with fees as high as $310,000 a year abused its patients  - Read more: 

Allstate Sues Florida Brain-Injury Center, Claiming Fraud

By David Armstrong | Bloomberg News | August 27, 2012 

Allstate Corp. (ALL), the second-largest U.S. auto insurer, is seeking fraud damages in a lawsuit alleging that a Florida brain-injury facility warehoused patients who were beaten and abused by staff. 

The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Tampa, seeks $7.6 million that the insurer says it paid the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation to treat its claimants, as well as triple damages under federal racketeering laws and other costs. 

Allstate alleges patients from Michigan, which mandates unlimited lifetime medical benefits for automobile injury coverage, were recruited to the Florida facility through an aggressive marketing campaign that promised an array of services that were never provided. 

Wayne J. Miller, an attorney representing the facility, known as FINR, said the company would not comment on matters in litigation.
To contact the reporter on this story: David Armstrong in Boston at darmstrong16@bloomberg.net 
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Voskuhl at jvoskuhl@bloomberg.net
@2012 Bloomberg L.P.


Beaten, Burned, and Raped
Hundreds of complaints allege that a Central Florida
neurologic treatment center is a house of horrors
a plethora of problems
at a state-contracted mental-health facility

By Bob Norman | New Times Broward-Palm Beach | Thursday, Aug 9 2001

When Joe Cox was born 17 years ago, his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck and nearly strangled him. He survived, but his brain was permanently damaged. Today he has an IQ of 68, suffers from impulsive behavior, and is unable to care for himself. His father, the Rev. James Cox, a community leader and minister at West Lauderdale Baptist Church, has sent him to special schools and provided him with high-level psychiatric care, but Joe has never shown much progress.

So this past November, when the state Department of Children and Families referred Joe to a residential brain-injury treatment center called the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation (FINR) and promised to pay the hefty $93,000 bill for three months of professional care, the reverend jumped at the chance. The state gave FINR a glowing recommendation, and its Internet site shows a beautiful campus on 900 acres in rural Wauchula, roughly 70 miles southeast of Tampa. So Cox made the four-hour drive from Fort Lauderdale to the facility and left Joe there with the hope of a breakthrough.

Instead the sole thing broken was Joe's spirit; the care he received was horrific, his father says. Joe was given only nominal treatment, lived in poor conditions, and was beaten, burned, and raped by developmentally impaired teens who lived with him, Reverend Cox alleges.

Cox helped spark a state investigation at the center, and he and his attorney, John Contini, plan to file a civil lawsuit against FINR this week. "This is egregious, and it's against the law," Cox declares. "This place has been able to get away with it because many of the residents are foster kids and they are mentally ill. They messed with the wrong kid when they messed with Joe."

Brain Injury Patients Victimized
by Greedy Rehab Centers

     Sadly, the biggest single scam ever perpetuated against brain injury survivors and their families was carried out by a number of leading rehabilitation centers in the early 1990's.  It is presented here on these pages  because it continues to have relevancy for today. 

Back in 1989, at 46 years of age, Lucy Gwin became a head injury statistic.  She suffered a head injury at the hands of a drunk driver.  After a stint in an acute care center she was moved to a rehab center operated by a firm known as New Medico. 

   Three weeks later Lucy felt well enough to leave New Medico.  However, New Medico had other ideas.  They knew that Ms. Gwin had not come close to exhausting her insurance coverage, and they were not willing to discharge her until they had siphoned off every possible every penny. 

     When she objected they locked her in a "quiet room" and withdrew her telephone privileges.  Not to be undone Lucy,  smuggled a message to a friend on the outside who helped her to escape this unlawful  imprisonment.

      Once free, this career activist set out to gain freedom for others similarly confined.  Ultimately, her goal was to end once and for all such unlawful confinement.  It wasn't long before she realized that one lone voice wouldn't make much of a difference.  So she gathered some like-minded allies and set out on this heroic quest. url: http://www.mouthmag.org/

     Her determination  and activism resulted in justice department investigations, FBI raids and Congressional hearings.  For details see: Union Calendar No. 594, 102D Congress, 2d Session, HR 102-1059. Banner headlines decrying the abuse of head injury patients appeared on the front page of  The New York Times 3/16/92,  and other leading newspapers. 

     In the end New Medico, and  Rebound (another rehab chain) were drummed out of business.  The owners were subjects of  civil and criminal law suits, and Congress created the Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996, copies of which may be downloaded from the congressional document web site known as Thomas http://thomas.loc.gov/.  The following search instructions should take you to the document. 

     On the Thomas home page, in the "search by bill number" window type "hr248";  in the "search by word/phrase window" type in "prevention of traumatic brain injury" and hit the search button on the screen.  Do not include quote marks in the text that you type in the search windows.

    In October 1998 the National Institutes of Health convened a TBI Rehabilitation Consensus Conference to re-examine the state of TBI rehabilitation.  The testimony that I presented at that conference can be viewed on this web site in a document entitled TBI Rehabilitation The Patient's Perspective.  The overall consensus of the conference was that although things are much improved over the bad old days TBI rehab still leaves much to be desired. 

     Y2K Rub.  The decade between 1980 and 1990 was the golden era of the TBI Rehab industry.  They were making money hand over fist. They made so much money so quickly that they attracted attention of Wall Street.  TBI rehab was described as a leading growth industry in a December 29, 1987 article on the Business and Health pages of the New York Times

     They were so busy making money that they totally lost sight of their oath to do no harm. Apparently they deluded them selves into believing that TBI survivors and their families were docile and brain dead.  Such attitudes haven't changed much over the past decade, but at least they are not quite as blatant in their abuse and neglect.

     In fact,  it was this very same arrogance by the rehabilitation industry that led to the creation of BrainInjury Resource Center in 1983.  Even through the fog of TBI it was clear to me that the rehab industry was not going to be very  helpful in my recovery. In fact, it became painfully clear that left up to their own devices they would cause more harm than good. 

     It was at that point that I realized that surviving my brain injury, was largely up to me. It also occurred to me that physically surviving TBI was only the first of many steps on the long road to recovery.  The real trick to surviving TBI was in living well in spite of the many chronic impairments that it causes.  I can't tell you how disappointing a realization this was for me. But I accepted the challenge and set about digging and searching for clues, and then sharing my findings with other survivors and their families. 

     I am scheduled to address an federal, Interagency Conference on TBI 2000.  The conference will take place in December 1999.  My working title is the TBI Rehab:  The Real Y2K Bug.  Your comments are welcome and might be incorporated into my testimony.  brain@headinjury.com

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