BIG STONE GAP — The former nursing director of a defunct Scott County nursing home pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Big Stone Gap to a single felony count connected to wrongdoing at the facility.
Gina Bradley, aka Gina Begley, entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia that saw her admit guilt to one count of giving a false statement relating to health care matters.
The crime carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised probation. Bradley is scheduled to be sentenced May 7 by Judge James P. Jones in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. She is currently free on bond.
Bradley was originally indicted Sept. 12 on eight counts of making false statements related to health care matters in connection with her time at the Brian Center, which changed its name to ContiniumCare of Weber City several months before closing in August 2012.
Bradley is the second former Brian Center/ContiniumCare employee to be found guilty in recent months of wrongdoing at the now-closed nursing home.
Melissa Ann Forester, a former registered nurse at the Brian Center, pleaded guilty in October to a single count of making false statements related to health care matters.
Forester, who was originally indicted on 10 charges before reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, is scheduled to be sentenced June 16 by Judge Jones.
The charges against Bradley resulted from the treatment of two patients who lived at the Brian Center during her tenure as director of nursing.
One of the patients, who was also named in Forester’s indictment, reportedly had a severely infected pressure sore with feces-filled bandages covering it, while another had pressure ulcers neglected to the point that maggots were discovered inside one of the wounds.
The charges against both women followed a raid conducted in September 2010 at the now-closed nursing home by agents with the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Unit, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Task Force.
The multi-agency investigation centered on possible violations of wire fraud, mail fraud, health care fraud and money laundering. Federal authorities have said that more charges in the case could be filed in the future.
In July 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) terminated status of the Brian Center — which by then was renamed ContiniumCare — as a Medicare and Medicaid provider.
The termination was a result of the facility’s consistent failure to comply with federal regulations regarding quality of care and other deficiencies.
Due to the CMS decision, the nursing home ceased operations on Aug. 31, 2012.
In June 2010, the facility was placed on a special focus list for nursing homes that are considered among the worst in Virginia at meeting federal and state requirements.
On Nov. 3, 2011, the facility received a one-star rating out of a possible five by CMS. That rating, which is considered “much below average,” was based on health inspections, staffing and quality measures.