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Feds join suit claiming nursing home fraud

LUMBERTON, Miss. (AP) — Federal officials are joining a whistleblower lawsuit claiming a former south Mississippi nursing home operator withheld care to pad profits.

The suit, originally filed by Academy Health Center, claims the former operator of a Lumberton nursing home claimed money from Medicare and Medicaid for services he didn't provide or for services so bad they were "effectively worthless."

Douglas K. Mittleider and companies he controlled ran the nursing home from October 2005 until earlier this year. The suit says employees and medical supplies were in short supply, and residents suffered pressure ulcers, falls, dehydration and malnutrition.

By joining the suit, the government could recover money it paid to the nursing home. Academy Health Center would get a portion of any recovery since it brought the suit on the government's behalf.

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