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February 5, 2016

Aide charged with abusing nursing home resident

aideBob Ellis/staff photographer
Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at 28 Kellogg Road is shown this morning.

By TODD R. McADAM
Associate Editor
tmcadam@cortlandstandard.net

A certified nurse aide at Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Kellogg Road has been charged with abusing a patient at the facility in December.
Noelle Otto, 28, of McDonough, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday in Cortland City Court. She is charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent person and first-degree falsifying business records, felonies, and willful violation of health laws. She remains free without bail and her next court apperance is March 2.
Otto was accused in a Dec. 5, 2014, incident at the nursing home on Kellogg Road. She is accused of covering a patient’s mouth, slapping the woman’s arms and legs, slamming the woman’s arms against the bedside table and then making a false statement to the facility about the incident.
“Nursing home residents are among New York’s most vulnerable citizens and they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and compassion by those responsible for their care,” state Attorney General Eric. T. Schneiderman said in a news release. “For a patient to be abused by someone whose job it is to ensure their well-being is disgraceful.”
Crown Center Administrator Patrick Deptula did not return calls for comment, however a spokeswoman with the Attorney General’s Office said Otto no longer works at the facility.
The charges follow a referral from the state Department of Health and an investigation by Senior Special Investigator Michael J. Ostuni. The case is being prosecuted by Ralph D. Tortora, III, the regional director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
This is not the first case Tortora has prosecuted at the facility, although it was under a different owner when the previous incident occurred.
“We were not paying any closer attention to Crown than we normally do to any health facility,” said Casey Aguglia, a spokeswoman for the attorney general.
Highgate TLC Management LLC, which then owned what was called the Northwoods Extended Care and Rehabilitation Facility on Kellogg Road, was convicted in October 2007 on nine counts for failing to provide adequate care to a comatose patient and falsifying paperwork to cover it up. Five Northwoods nurses and nurses aides pleaded guilty earlier that year to a variety of counts in the case, in which a camera was placed in the patient room to record 24 hours a day for three months.
Long Island-based Oasis Health Care LLC bought the nursing center in 2010 for $6.5 million from Schenectady-based Highgate. That was part of a bankruptcy proceeding that began in 2008, following the conviction.

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