Central Mass. Nursing Home Chain to Pay $4M Over Neglect Allegations

Central Mass. Nursing Home Chain to Pay $4M Over Neglect Allegations

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office has reached a $4 million settlement with Next Step Healthcare, a company that operates 16 nursing homes across the state. The settlement, the largest ever for a nursing home in Massachusetts, resolves allegations of understaffing that led to resident harm and neglect. As part of the agreement, Next Step will be required to pay for an independent compliance monitor to oversee operations and ensure compliance with state-mandated staffing levels.

The bulk of the $4 million settlement, approximately $3.25 million, will be allocated for staffing improvements over the next three years. This includes funding for recruitment, retention, additional benefits, bonuses, overtime, and wage increases. The remaining funds will be split between MassHealth and a special fund managed by the Department of Public Health to enhance long-term care quality. The state investigation found that staffing cuts were made without considering patient needs, which contributed to resident neglect and harm. The compliance monitor will review the facilities every six months and report back to the state to ensure adherence to the agreement.

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