Judge says Cold Spring Hills Center needs an independent oversight group


Woodmere resident Benjamin Landa, who was previously a landowner of the Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Woodbury, will be required to pay $500,000 of the $2 million in restitution required by a court ruling.

The 588-bed nursing home will also is now required to have an independent oversight group take over patient care at in Woodbury.

The March 15 decision by Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Lisa Cairo stems from a lawsuit brought by state Attorney General Letitia James after an investigation that alleged understaffing resulted in harm to the patients, according to court documents.  

James filed the lawsuit in December 2022, claiming Landa and a dozen other people misappropriated more than $22 million, and redirected $15.3 million from Medicaid and Medicare programs into the organization that owns it, Cold Spring Realty.

The ruling is somewhat of a victory for Cold Spring Realty, as the rehab facility does not have to pay tens of millions in fines, having someone monitor the facility’s finances and having another owner, Bent Philipson, removed.

James’s lawsuit accused Cold Spring Realty of financial fraud, claiming the group pocketed $22.5 million through three illegal schemes with Medicaid and Medicare money that was intended to care for Cold Spring residents.

The legal action also claimed that Cold Spring paid $5.2 million to several other entities for what was described as “consulting,” and that another $2 million was part of a fraudulent promissory note scheme.

The described cases in which patients weren’t bathed regularly and developed infections after sitting in their waste — examples that “clearly establish” the nursing home’s inability to meet quality of care standards required by the law, the judge ruled.

James initiated a crackdown on nursing homes with multiple lawsuits in 2022.

The Fulton Commons Care Center Inc. in East Meadow pleaded guilty earlier this month to a cover up will pay up to $8.6 million after a settlement with the state Attorney General’s office and agreed to install monitors to reform the nursing home’s health care and financial operations because of years of fraud and resident mistreatment.

The Fulton Commons corporation also pleaded guilty for criminal acts related to covering up the reports of sexual assaults against residents in 2020 and 2022. The company was fined $5,000 and ordered to comply with the conditions imposed by the attorney general.

“For years, residents at Fulton Commons endured despicable mistreatment that left them with traumatic injuries and humiliating living conditions while the owners and operator of the facility pocketed millions of dollars of taxpayer funds instead of investing in critical care,” Attorney General Letitia James said previously in a news release.     

An expanded story will be in the March 28 Nassau Herald.