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Lawsuit: Former administrator at local nursing home fired for pushing back against false COVID-19 reporting

MONROEVILLE, Pa. — The former administrator at Monroeville Rehab & Wellness Center filed a federal lawsuit against the facility, claiming he was fired for pushing back against false coronavirus reporting.

The nursing home went from reporting zero cases to 47 cases and seven deaths in just a week earlier in August. As of Aug. 12, Monroeville Rehab reported 55 cases — 10 still “active” and 45 “resolved,” including eight resident deaths.

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Monroeville Rehab is owned by the same company as Brighton Rehab in Beaver County — Comprehensive Healthcare Management. Brighton had the biggest COVID-19 outbreak in the state, with more than 400 cases and 73 deaths. That facility was criticized by many family members for a lack of transparency.

Ron Berlingo is now suing Monroeville Rehab for wrongful termination and retaliation in violation of the Pa. whistleblower law, alleging that after the facility had its first case of coronavirus in July, a regional administrative consultant and the facility’s head nurse did not provide “accurate information” to the infection control specialist with the health department.

According to the lawsuit, Berlingo said a number of employees became sick and were not able to work, leaving the nursing home understaffed -- but the consultant, Tom Lowden, was reporting that they were returning to work.

Berlingo alleges in the lawsuit that Lowden “actively discouraged” him from speaking to the Pa. Department of Health of Allegheny County Health Department and later fired him at the end of July.

You can read the full lawsuit below:

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