Attorney General Beau Biden announced Oct. 21 that his office has secured the conviction of a Sussex County woman who was charged with abusing an elderly patient at a Seaford nursing home.
“We have a special obligation to look out for the most vulnerable members of our community, including residents of nursing homes and patients in healthcare facilities who often can’t speak up and speak out,” Biden said. “That’s why we use our broad authority under state and federal law to hold individuals who mistreat them accountable for their crimes.”
In late February, the Seaford Police Department referred a report of patient abuse to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which opened an investigation. The investigation revealed that during a work shift at the Methodist Manor House Feb. 24, Anne Nunemann, a certified nursing assistant at the facility, placed a large trash bag over an 89-year-old resident’s head as she sat in her wheelchair in the facility. Fortunately, the victim, who suffered from severe dementia, did not sustain physical injury. The defendant was terminated from her position at the Seaford nursing home as a result of the incident.
As a result of its investigation, staff from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested Nunemann May 3, and charged her with one count each of patient abuse and mistreatment of an impaired adult. On Oct. 15, after a two-day trial in Sussex County Superior Court, the jury convicted Nunemann, 29, of Delmar, on all counts. Judge E. Scott Bradley immediately imposed a sentence of six months of intensive probation and ordered her not to work during that time in a facility that provides care to the elderly.
As a result of her conviction, Delaware officials are notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services, which, under federal law is authorized to bar Nunemann from working in any facility that receives payment from any federal healthcare program for a minimum of five years. The Attorney General’s Office has also provided notice of the conviction to Delaware’s Division of Long Term Care Residents Protection so the defendant can be placed on the state’s Adult Abuse Registry.
The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is charged with protecting residents who receive Medicaid funds and the taxpayers who support the Medicaid program. The unit’s team of prosecutors, investigators, and other support staff prosecutes patient abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and financial exploitation in nursing homes and other facilities that receive Medicaid funds, and investigates healthcare providers who defraud the Medicaid program.
Biden encouraged anyone who may know of Medicaid fraud or who suspects patient abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or financial exploitation in nursing homes and other facilities to contact the Delaware Medicaid Fraud Control Hotline at 302-577-5000.