BRADENTON -- Some of the 91 residents who moved out over the past three weeks want to return to a Bradenton nursing center after the facility was suspended from the Medicaid program in connection with a case involving more than $2.75 million in fraudulent expenditures.
About 16 residents receiving funds from the state-federal Medicaid program, who had been moved elsewhere, have notified the Riverfront Nursing and Rehabilitation Center they want to return, according to Diane Belyea, social services director at the center at 105 15th St. E.
Officials expect to resume admitting residents next week pending completion of the proper paperwork, said Belyea.
"Almost every single family has either called or come in and wants their loved ones to come back," Belyea said Wednesday.
Building owner Dan Mosca filed paperwork with the state to replace a former management company cited in the fraud case, and has already requested reinstatement to the Medicaid program, she said.
She had no information on how to reach Mosca, who is an out-of-state resident, she said.
Last month, Medicaid re
cipients at the center received letters saying the facility's Medicaid privileges had been suspended, and they would have to move or arrange private payment.
Medicaid, a joint federal-state health care program for the poor, would continue to pay their bills through May 15, the letters said.
State staffers from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday were overseeing center activities, said Shelisha Coleman, agency spokeswoman.
The suspension stemmed from last year's indictment of Maxcine Darville and Joanne Carter, chief executive officer and assistant CEO of the Council on Aging of Florida, respectively, affiliated with center management company, the Bradenton Council on Aging. The company is not affiliated with the Florida Council on Aging.
The pair used Medicaid money meant for the care of patients at the Bradenton center and at facilities in Pahokee and Gainesville to cover excessive salaries and personal expenses, state investigators said in court papers.
For instance, in 2011, Darville earned a salary of $285,962 and a bonus of $67,396, while Carter got a salary of $183,063 and a bonus of $29,294, investigators found, according to court papers.
Darville and Carter were each charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony, according to Whitney Ray, press secretary for the office of Attorney General Pam Bondi.
If convicted, each defendant faces up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, he said.
The two women, who are mother and daughter, have pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to their attorneys.
Mark Thomas, Darville's attorney, and Scott Flint, Carter's attorney, declined comment Wednesday on behalf of their clients.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.