State pulling funding from Orange Park assisted living residents

Owner of Astoria Assisted Living agreed to not to receive federal funding

Patrice Cohen and dozens others are scrambling to find a new place to live after the state of Florida terminated its Medicaid contract with the Astoria Assisted Living Facility in Orange Park.

The owner of the Astoria received a letter from the state's Agency for Health Care Administration that the funding was cut, but it didn't say why. It means 35 of the  facility's 60 residents will not longer receive any Medicaid funding toward their rent. 

Many residents have a difficult time getting around and are recovering from medical procedures. They now have to leave.

"Where am I going to go. There are places that are full, and where are we supposed to go?" Cohen said Thursday.

The owner and the management are just as puzzled as the residents.

"We want to help these people. We don’t want them to leave. We want to do everything we can to keep them here," said Astoria's executive director, Harry Mangini. "But for the next 30 days, we have to work on finding them a new home."

News4Jax researched the facility's inspection reports and found Astoria has been cited, but for minor problems that were corrected. It was also written up for missing paperwork involving an employee, but nothing in the file that would indicate why Medicaid  funding would be cut.

Mangini said the Astoria was opened without targeting low- or high-income assisted living residents, like most facilities do, "but the middle income, because there is really no one that caters to them."

"And even if we are allowed to stay, if something happens and this can be resolved, even staying is going to make everybody feel insecure (that) could this happen again,"  Pate said.

The residents said they have no problem with management or the way the facility is operated. Most of all, they say they don’t want to leave their friends.

News4Jax asked the Agency for Healthcare Administration about the termination and spokeswoman sent this statement:

The 100% owner of Astoria Assisted Living, Syed Hussein, also owns Total Lab Care, LLC, a federally excluded facility with a revoked license. The Agency is working with health plans to relocate residents.

News4Jax learned that Total Lab Care, a toxicology laboratory in Jacksonville, agreed last year to pay a $212,500 fine to resolve allegations it gave a doctor kickbacks for referral of toxicology samples. In that settlement, Hussein agreed to not participate in any federal health care programs in the future.

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