Family hires attorney in Forest Hill fiasco, people treated like “cattle”

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Another family is coming forward and has hired an attorney in the case of the abrupt closing of Forest Hill Nursing Home in East Moline.

"They packed our stuff, threw us in a van and said, 'You're going,'" said Kathy Koehn, a Bettendorf woman and former resident of Forest Hill.

"Originally they told us we were going to be moved to another wing while they renovated.  Last Monday, they called a special meeting and told us we had to be out by Friday.  And the next day, which was Tuesday, they packed me up and moved me and I didn't know where I was going.  I didn't know where my stuff was.  We were given virtually no notice and our families were given no notice," Koehn said in an interview at her attorney's office in Rock Island.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating how Forest Hill basically emptied the nursing home of nearly 70 sick and elderly patients to two nursing homes in East Moline and Galesburg.

"It's deplorable, you're made to feel like you are cattle that they herd from one place to another," Koehn said.

Koehn, who is being helped by hospice, says it was a nightmare during her transfer to another home in East Moline.

"I take morphine every four hours and, when they moved me, it was almost three days before I received any pain medication.  So I was up for three days and nights in pain, because I wasn't getting anything," she said.

Her daughter Amy says she, too, learned about the mass transfer the day before her mother was moved.

"I feel, not only was my mom put in a bad place, but all the residents there.  And a lot of residents who can't stand up for themselves.  I think it was really rotten how this went down," Amy said. "My mom didn't even have her medical chart follow her, so she was without her medicine for two, three days."

The Koehns have hired Rock Island attorney Howard Zimmerle and plan to file lawsuit against Forest Hill owner Michael Lerner and his company, GEM Health.

"They violated a lot of these rules," said Zimmerle, referring to the Nursing Home Care Act that requires 90-day shutdown notice for residents to find alternative care.

"The biggest mission is to hold this guy accountable for what he did to all these people," Zimmerle said.

The Koehn's say its not just about them.

"We're all going to get old. We're all going to get a disability some day and people shouldn't be treated like that," said Amy Koehn. "Luckily I have hospice there for me and mom because I probably still wouldn't have her stuff, her medicine."

"She was just put in a van without notice.  I don't think they should do that to people.  I want him to be held accountable and if he has other homes out there, they should be investigated," Amy said.

Koehn said she is worried about her fellow residents after the move.

"A lot of the older people don't have family, like I do, to stand by them and help them and be an advocate. I feel really bad for those people," Koehn said.

For more of our coverage of this story, click here.


  • Anonymous

    Forest Hill was ran by a very honest and caring Adminstrator and her very talented Department Heads. None of this happened because of them this all happened because of greedy owners!! They were lied to as well, ALL of them were told to move people beacuse of renovations then after they did all of the hard work of placing the residents they were told it was closing, they were all used!! Plus no residents were just moved without family or gurdians (if they had one) approved and they gave them options of Galesburg Terrace or Riverwood or they could find a different nursing home if they chose to. Why don’t everyone focus on the REAL story here Michael Lerener!! He does still own Galesburg Terrace he just let Yam Mangement take over the mangement of the building to get out of debts owed to vendors that are in his name and to start again with a different company name. Him and his pals Michael Rosen, Yosef Meystel, and David Berkowitz(who all own Yam Mangement and Riverwood nursing home in East Moline and the paper owners of Galesburg Terrace)are running a scam here to fill their other nursing homes. Why do you think Riverwood employees came and got beds and all med supplies from Forest Hill and the food delivery that Forest Hill recevied the day before the shutdown??? Run up bills under one company name close building down or switch owners and start the same routine all over again. Then I bet you when Forest Hill goes up for sell by the bank Yam Mangement will buy the building and start it back up magically with a different name!! Please do yourself the favor of researching these four men you will be horrified!!

  • James

    yep , these people are a black eye on the face of Illinois nursing homes ,if IDPH were really concerned about the residents in any of their twenty plus homes ,I can’t see how they are still allowed to own an operate nursing homes in this state or any other for that matter , just a few facts for your consideration .they only want their homes staffed at a eight two one ratio , think about this the next time your out dinning most restaurants staff better than that and they are not assisting there patrons in eating , or toileting them and bathing them . another point to ponder while your dinning on this thanksgiving day they only alot a budget of five dollars a day for each resident that is for all three meals and snacks .they expect management to forge documents for them on a regular basis , if you refuse they threaten termination and tell you if you won’t play ball they will find someone who will .they operate primarily out of the Skokie area of Chicago but also have ties to new York , they are more secretive than the mafia about there business , it is almost impossible to trace their paper trail , they keep every aspect of the business end within their own corporation they bill theirselves for rental of their own medical equipment and supplies , they double dip making sure that almost every penny of every social security check or public aid/ Medicaid payment stays within there slew of companies they set up within there corporation , they use local area vendors and refuse to pay them in a timely manner and sometimes never, word gets around until no local business will do business with them unless their paid up front .they are all about putting up a false façade but little on actual resident care .they only see the residents as dollar signs not as people, when these owners and corperate scum visit the homes they run , they look at the residents like they are disgusted by them like they are so much better than them ,these people are about as caring as a block of ice , and have no place in healthcare period . how they became owners of nursing homes is beyond comprehension , its about time Idph really did there job and stop just slapping these people on the wrist for violations and start holding them accountable , just allowing them to say it is always the administrators and building management and nursing directors responsibility is absurd because they make every decision about every aspect of operations , if you need your job you have no choice ! Illinois department of public health knows who all these owners of all three of these homes involved in this fiasco are , and I am saying it is about time they finally step in and stop them once and for all , this isn’t the first time they have shut down one home to fill another with there residents , there are numerous accounts of yam management doing the exact same thing all over Illinois , search Byron Witt for source material also Yam management .

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