Kaleida agrees to pay $500K, improve quality to settle death of infant

Nov 20, 2019

Kaleida and New York State have settled a case of neglect that led to the death of a 16-month-old child with Huntingon's disease at the HighPointe on Michigan Health Care Facility in Buffalo.

The New York Attorney General's Office announced a settlement Tuesday, saying Kaleida agreed to pay $500,00 in restitution and damages, increase staffing and supervision at HighPointe, as well as implement quality improvement measures in the pediatric wing of the Michigan Avenue rehab and subacute care facility.

"Kaleida health put residents of HighPointe at risk, which is why we fought for corrective actions and restitution," said AG Leticia James. "My office will closely monitor compliance with the agreement to ensure the future safety of residents."

James said Kaleida expended more than $8 million to increase direct care, including a new Medical Director. Kaleida said that figure is more than $12 million since 2014.

“It is important to note – and the Attorney General’s office points out - that we have made significant changes and investments over the past few years relative to staffing and quality of care," said Kaleida in a statement. "This includes adding more than 75 full-time employees, changing out 85% of management and 60% of our front line staff.  Most importantly, we are now rated five stars for our quality. So, despite an extremely challenging environment, we continue to make progress.”

Seventeen caregivers were arrested in 2014 and subsequently convicted of neglect of the infant. The child died in 2015.

Kaleida said one of the conditions of the settlement is that the health system neither admits nor denies the AG's findings. James said reforms are required to be continued for 30 months, even if HighPointe is sold or transferred to new ownership.

New Yorkers can report suspected nursing home abuse and neglect, or Medicaid fraud to the Attorney General’s toll-free Fraud Hotline, at 800-771-7755 or online.