Two licensed home care services agencies in Brooklyn have settled claims of not appropriately paying their staff. The cases were heard in the Eastern District of New York. All American Homecare Agency and Crown of Life violated the federal False Claims Act and New York State’s False Claim Act by claiming that they met wage guidelines required under state law. The companies received millions of dollars from Medicaid, which the federal government partially funds.
The companies settled the fraud claims for $5.4 million, accepted responsibility, and agreed to follow all guidelines. They also agreed to repay wages and benefits to current and former homecare aides when they were not compensated appropriately. All American Homecare Agency agreed to $2.4 million to the state and $1.6 million to the federal government for conduct between 2014-2017. Crown of Life agreed to pay $560,000 to the federal government and $840,000 to the state for conduct between 2014-2018.
The New York Wage Parity Act required that the companies compensate homecare staff with a minimum wage and supplemental benefits if Medicaid pays for the services. The base wage should be paid in cash – the New York City minimum is $19.09 per hour, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties are $18.22. The benefits can include sick pay, holidays, vacation time, and additional compensation. It also provides health insurance, educational assistance and pension plans.
The work involves all aspects of personal care for the sick and homebound, including lifting clients out of bed, washing, grooming, making meals and possibly feeding them.
“It is outrageous to cheat home health aides of their hard-earned benefits guaranteed under New York law and the Medicaid program,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. “These settlements reflect this Office’s firm commitment to preventing fraud in government programs and protecting home health aides— who perform physically and emotionally taxing work in caring for some of the members of our community most in need.”
The case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit under New York State Attorney General Letitia James.