NYC Investigation Finds Majority of Interviewed Home Health Care Agencies Taking Advantage of AidesSeptember 18, 2018
By Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN, Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com
It should come as no surprise to individuals who operate within the home health care sector that fraud and abuse can and does happen. As any honest agency owner or caregiver with integrity would admit, that needs to be rooted out as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of all clients, elderly or disabled. Unfortunately, it’s not just clients who are being abused and taken advantage of by some agencies. A recent New York City investigation found that 75% of home care agencies that were investigated had been taking advantage of the caregivers on their staff.
42 agencies were investigated and found to be noncompliant with state and city laws. Two of those laws are Paid Safe and Sick Leave and the Wage Parity Law. Some workers were reported to have not been paid for their full shifts, even though they were working 24 hour shifts. Others were not provided the benefits they were guaranteed by law.
According to a news blog report by The Gothamist entitled, City Investigation Reveals Widespread Mistreatment [o]f Home Health for good talk in a Aides, written by Mara Silvers:
“During the roughly year-long investigation, the department said it interviewed hundreds of workers, many of whom are women and immigrants. 21 cases ended in settlements involving restitution and fines. More than a dozen cases are still being investigated by the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings or the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
For workers, the intensive labor that comes with being a home health aide deserves adequate compensation and benefits. Carol Khaldoun said she has been working for BeSure Home Health Services Agency, Inc. for two years.
“We have no time and a half, no pension, no sick days. And we deserve that,” said Khaldoun. “We work hard.”
The repercussions of this months-long investigation by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs will likely be felt for months and possibly even years. It is possible for some home care agencies to lose their operating license if they are not in compliance with state and city laws.
One group of home health aides for a local agency voted to join the 1199 SEIU back in April. A representative for that home care agency did not return requests for comment regarding that matter. New York City is estimating that by 2040 there will be 1.4 million seniors throughout the five boroughs, the majority of them requiring, at some point in their life, support and care at home.