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Feds raid PA nursing home linked to coronavirus outbreak

A nursing home that was the site of Pennsylvania’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak was raided by FBI agents Thursday, according to multiple outlets.

Investigators executed a federal search warrant at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center near Pittsburgh, where over 300 of the facility’s residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19, WPXI reported.

Dozens at the nursing home in Beaver County died as a result of the virus — 82 in all.

“Today, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General executed court-authorized Federal search warrants at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center,” U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania’s Western District Scott Brady said in a statement, according to CBS Pittsburgh.

The nursing home’s sister facility, Mt. Lebanon Rehab & Wellness Center in Allegheny County, was also searched by federal agents, Brady said.

FBI agents raided the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center after more than 300 residents contracted COVID-19, 82 of them dying from the virus.  Screengrab from CBS Pittsburgh / KDKA 2

The raids come just weeks after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro confirmed his office was launching a criminal investigation into Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. The facility is “one of several” Shapiro’s office is investigating for suspected fraud and “criminal neglect” during the coronavirus pandemic, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported.

“The reports of conditions and practices at the Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center are deeply troubling,” Shapiro told the newspaper in August.

“I think there are people in the public, particularly those with loved ones affiliated with Brighton, who may have information that’s helpful to our investigation,” he added. “People need to know that we’re looking at this facility and if they have information that’s helpful to our investigation, to alert us.”

In July, the Brighton nursing home reported it was coronavirus-free for the first time since March, according to WPXI. The facility also defended its use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat and prevent the virus, the station reported.

The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization for the drug earlier this year after clinical trials showed the risks of taking it — including rapid heartbeat and other “serious cardiac adverse events” — outweighed the benefits.

Anyone with information on suspected fraud, abuse or victimization related to long-term care or assisted living facilities, please report it to the Western PA #COVID19 Fraud Task Force:
• Toll Free Hotline:
1-888-C19-WDPA or 1-888-219-9372
• Email:
usapaw.covid19@usdoj.gov

— US Attorney Scott Brady (@USAttyBrady) September 3, 2020

Federal investigators encourage anyone with information on suspected fraud or abuse at long-term care facilities during the pandemic to contact a regional COVID-19 fraud task force.

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Tanasia is a national Real-Time reporter based in Atlanta covering Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and the southeastern U.S. She’s an alumna of Kennesaw State University and joined McClatchy in 2020.


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