Courts & Crime

Kentucky nursing home abuse investigations languish

It's been 11 months since Johnson Mathers Nursing Home in Carlisle received the state's most serious regulatory citation in the May 2009 death of James "Ronnie" Duncan.

The Type A citation also was sent from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the agency that issues the citations, to the office of Attorney General Jack Conway, which reviews them for criminal wrongdoing.

Since then, no decision has been made to close the case or pursue criminal charges in the death of the mentally handicapped man who died from profuse bleeding in the brain after a fall. Staff members put Duncan back to bed and left him without treatment for three hours, according to state and court documents.

The Duncan case is one of eight nursing home cases that have languished for months and sometimes years as investigators try to determine whether to pursue charges.

Of the 107 serious citations issued by the cabinet's Office of Inspector General from December 2006 through 2009, eight cases are open and under review by the attorney general's Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control or local prosecutors, according to a Herald-Leader review.

Those eight cases have been pending for an average of 19 months.

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