By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Federal and New York state authorities have reached a $1 million settlement with a Brooklyn agency that used untrained health aides to care for elderly and disabled clients.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced the settlement with Parkshore Home Health Care on Tuesday. Schneiderman said the agency hired workers with false training certificates and sent them into the homes of the vulnerable and elderly. The agency submitted false claims to Medicaid and will return $1 million to the state and federal governments. New York's Medicaid program requires home health aides to complete a state-licensed training program. The aides administer medication and provide services such as catheter, colostomy and wound care.
Tuesday's settlement covers home-health hours billed from 2005 to 2007.
Meanwhile, in Albany, state Sen. Eric Adams of Brooklyn sponsored legislation to prevent financial crimes against New York’s senior citizens. “The financial exploitation of seniors is a despicable crime that is unfortunately all too common in Brooklyn and across New York,” said Adams, chairperson of the Senate’s Committee on Aging.
The bill would provide elderly consumers with a safety net when they are victimized, create an alert system so that evidence of fraud can be reported directly to law enforcement, and engage banks to identify and prevent financial schemes.
A number of organizations that provide services to the seniors and the elderly are applauding the efforts to protect one of the city’s more vulnerable communities. “Many of our seniors are preyed upon in this manner, and this bill, which is so necessary, will help banks and care providers protect seniors immediately from this type of abuse,” said Judy Kleve, VP, Older Adult Services, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.
“It sends a strong message to the quarter of a million older New Yorkers being abused behind closed doors and to their abusers that New York is standing up to say ‘no’ to these heinous situations,” noted Bobbie Sackman, director of Public Policy, Council of Senior Centers and Services. “A standardized protocol for reporting financial exploitation to Adult Protective Services and law enforcement produces a seamless process for all banks to follow. It would stop the bleeding of the life savings of older adults.”
The state Assembly will this week consider a companion bill sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman, chair of the Assembly’s Aging Committee.