Employees Claim Augusta Nursing Home Failed at Providing Health Insurance, Despite Paying Premiums

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Some employees of a local nursing home claim they have been dropped from their health insurance after paying for it. News channel 6’s Renetta DuBose is always investigating.  She spoke with one employee who told her she found out she was not covered in the middle of medical treatments.

“I’m in pain constantly.  I have no more medicine.  And I still constantly have to drag myself to work. I barely can walk,” Sheila Rozier said.

It seems like an open and shut case. You work full time and health insurance will be given to you, provided you pay a premium.  Sheila Rozier does just that where she works.

“[I pay] $45 per pay period,” she explained.

Rozier said she had a pinched nerve in her right shoulder.  Now, her entire right arm is numb and she’s unable to use it. She went to a neurologist, but her Blue Cross Blue Shield didn’t work.

“I was already going to one specialist, but he transferred me to another specialist.  When I went to the second specialist that’s when I found out we didn’t have any insurance and that was around the middle or end of May,” she told DuBose.

Rozier is a Certified Nursing Assistant for Amara Healthcare and Rehabilitation, a nursing home off Peach Orchard Road in Augusta.  She tells DuBose she contacted her employer June 1 about not having health insurance and they told her it collapsed six months ago.

“I never got a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield saying we didn’t have no insurance.  It’s just like a blind spot,” she described.

The National Provider Identifier Database list Douglas Mittleider as President of Amara, which also operates as Salem Nursing and Rehab Center of Augusta.

A call to Mittleider at Altacare Corporation in Alpharetta, Georgia went unanswered, so we left a message.

After learning about claims that health insurance was unexpectedly dropped for people who work for Amara, we also uncovered that the owner has been the subject of a federal lawsuit.

We got our hands on the previous Director of Nursing’s resignation letter.  In that letter she states some employees worry about having insurance coverage because some have not had it at times.  She also states she has ‘read copies of insurance cancellations as of September 1, 2014 where employees lost their coverage, but continued to pay their insurance premiums.’  Her letter also stated that Amara employees were covered at that point, but wonder for how long.

Rozier wonders too, especially since the Affordable Care Act denied her request.

“They tell me I cannot get enrolled until November because it’s not enrollment time and if I do they want to charge you a $189 fee to get in.  Then, they’re not going to pay for this ongoing problem I already have.  I have to wait a year before I go to the doctor to see about this so, I’m still stuck,” she said.

Rozier added she is unable to work with patients without the help of her co-workers.  She’s required to lift them and roll them over and that task has been tough.

Mittleider has not returned DuBose’s call as of Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.

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