Former nursing home head accused of Medicaid fraud

The former owner of the privately run Pond View Nursing Home at 81 S. Huntington Ave. was indicted for alleged Medicaid fraud last week as part of an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Carolyn Wetterberg co-owned the nursing home with her husband, Leonard Wetterberg, until 2008. According to a press release from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office, Carolyn Wetterberg was indicted by a grand jury last week “for allegedly defrauding the state Medicaid program and billing MassHealth in excess of $600,000 in services not provided.”

Contacted by the Gazette last week, Leonard Wetterberg declined to comment, saying he and his wife had not heard about the grand jury indictment.

The press release also says that Pond View, a 43-bed long-term care nursing facility was shut down by the state Department of Public Health in 2008 because of the poor quality of care it was providing for its patients.

Carolyn Wetterberg is accused of lying to MassHealth, which administers federal Medicaid funds, about Pond View patients’ care needs. Her alleged exaggerations of patient needs were discovered when Pond View was closed and patients were transferred to other facilities, the press release says.

The records comparison “includes evidence that residents claimed by [Carolyn] Wetterberg to be in need of assistance walking were able to walk independently,” and others who she claimed were incontinent or needed help eating did not have those problems.

Following the nursing home’s closure, the Wetterberg’s sold Pond View to Watertown-based SMC Development Corporation for about $1.3 million, SMC head Steve Chapman told the Gazette. SMC is redeveloping the property into a hotel.

State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez told the Gazette the sale might turn out to be good news for the state. “If they are found guilty, they are going to have to make restitution with the Commonwealth,” he said.

“I am extremely disheartened,” said Sánchez, who is House chair of the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health.

According to the AG’s Office press release, the date has not been set for Wetterberg’s arraignment.

The investigation into Pond View is one of a group of Medicaid fraud investigations reviewed by grand juries last week. Ten people and three companies were indicted for allegedly defrauding MassHealth of about $10 million, the press release says.

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