COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The owner of a Zanesville nursing home closed last year for suspected elder abuse has been indicted on dozens of felony counts.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Friday morning that 58-year-old Steven L. Hitchens of Newark, owner of Autumn Health Care in Zanesville, has been indicted on 39 counts that include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft by deception, Medicaid fraud, tampering with evidence, forgery and unlawful operation of a nursing home, ranging from first-degree felonies to first-degree misdemeanors.
In a separate indictment, Autumn Health Care, Inc. was charged with 16 counts for similar violations of the law.
During Friday morning's press conference, DeWine stressed the importance of this and future investigations into reports of elder abuse:
In June 2013, DeWine said that allegations of poor patient care and elder abuse were leveled against Autumn Health Care. A covert investigation uncovered evidence of suspected patient neglect, which included lack of proper medical, nutritional, and personal care to at least one patient. Some staff members also allegedly falsified documents to make it appear as if proper treatment was being provided.
Autumn Health Care has facilities in Newark, Coshocton, Mount Vernon, Zanesville, Cambridge and Somerset, but Friday's indictments only apply to the Zanesville facility.
Listen to Attorney General DeWine's complete press conference: