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10/8/2002

CHAP Settles Lawsuit Against Former CEO

Kate Traynor

New York-based Community Health Accreditation Program Inc. (CHAP) and the state Office of the Attorney General recently settled a lawsuit against the accrediting agency's former chief executive officer (CEO) and his family.

The lawsuit alleged that Melvin Lev, during his one-year tenure as CEO of CHAP, had mismanaged the organization and used more than $120,000 of its money to pay for personal expenses.

Interim CHAP President and CEO Theresa S. Ayer, M.S., R.N., said the settlement has resulted in the return of almost all of the misappropriated funds. Ayer, a former CHAP president, had agreed to resume her position with the agency this past March after a New York state judge removed Lev from office.

Ayer praised the attorney general's office for helping CHAP retain its good name during the investigation and settlement. Throughout the ordeal, she said, CHAP maintained its deeming authority under Medicare for accreditation of hospice and home care organizations.

"We didn't lose any of our active agencies," she said.

Under the terms of the settlement, Lev and his family are barred from any affiliation with CHAP, and the agency will be governed instead by a board of directors. According to a press release from CHAP, the agency plans to add at least three members to the board of directors and to recruit a new CEO.