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Vonda Wagner became a victim of patient dumping and said it was a terrifying experience. She now lives in an east Baltimore apartment. She's had a stroke. Because of a tracheotomy operation, she cannot talk, but the words she writes speak volumes about patient dumping.
"It was scary. I come from a town that had 600 people," she wrote.
When her health insurance coverage ran out, she lived in a Hagerstown nursing home. It was accused of bringing her to Baltimore and placing her in an unlicensed assisted-living facility, which eventually left her on a downtown street.
"I couldn't talk and you hear things about muggings. I couldn't scream for help," she wrote.
Maryland attorney General Brian Frosh said his office took the nursing home's parent company NMS LLC to court, claiming it engaged in unfair, unsafe and unlawful discharge practices, evicting hundreds of residents from its five facilities across the state.
"These are very bad accusations. they were dumping patients in homeless shelters, unlicensed assisted-living facilities, and they were endangering the health and lives of the people they were supposed to be treating," Frosh said.
Frosh said NMS agreed to pay a $2.2 million settlement and now is prohibited from operating nursing homes in Maryland.
"Putting them out of business, making sure they can never get back into the business and socking them with a $2.2 million fine send, I think, a strong message, not just to them, but to the rest of the folks who are treating our most vulnerable citizens," Frosh said.
Vonda now has a care taker.
"(I) make sure she takes her medicine, which isn't easy sometimes," said Doug Haller, her caretaker.
She has patiently waited for this outcome from the attorney general. She wrote, "It's about time. I want to thank him and his crew."
NMS is dropping a federal lawsuit against the Maryland Department of Health.
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MS nursing homes banned from Maryland for alleged patient dumping