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[MM Curator Summary]: The NY home health agency pocketed the extra money it was supposed to give to workers. $2M of it.
White Glove Community Care Fraudulently Obtained More Than $1 Million
in Medicaid Funds and Failed to Pay Required Wages to Employees
Company Agrees to Pay $1.2 Million to Medicaid Program
Return $2 Million to Current and Former Employees
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced two agreements with White Glove Community Care, Inc. (White Glove), a Brooklyn-based home health agency, for causing false claims to be submitted to Medicaid and cheating employees out of hard-earned wages. Under the agreements, one reached with the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Labor Bureau and the other with OAG’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), White Glove will return $2 million in unpaid wages to workers and pay $1.2 million to the New York State Medicaid Program (Medicaid). White Glove has admitted to wrongful conduct. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) is also party to the settlement resolving White Glove’s Medicaid fraud liability.
“Home health aides work tirelessly to provide critical care for our most vulnerable neighbors, and they deserve to receive adequate and fair compensation for their hard work,” said Attorney General James. “White Glove cheated their employees, and they cheated the everyday New Yorkers whose tax dollars fund the Medicaid program. My office will always stand up against bad actors, and ensure all workers get fair pay for their work.”
“The arduous work that these aides do, day after day, ensures that some of our most vulnerable neighbors receive the care and are shown the dignity that they deserve,” said United States Attorney Peace. “This settlement — the third in our continuing investigation of certain licensed home care service agencies — reflects this Office’s ongoing commitment to providing home health aides the hard-earned benefits guaranteed them under New York law and the Medicaid program.”
The New York Wage Parity Act sets wage and benefit minimums that state-licensed home care services agencies (LHCSAs) are required to pay to employees who perform home health aide and personal care services to Medicaid recipients. Under the law, workers are entitled to a base wage of $17.00 per hour, paid by the agencies, in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, or $15.20 per hour for the remainder of the state, and an additional fringe benefit of $4.09 per hour in New York City or $3.22 per hour in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. The Medicaid program reimburses LHCSAs for the cost of services provided to Medicaid recipients, and reimbursement is conditional on the agency’s compliance with the requirements of the Wage Parity Act.
The joint investigation by OAG and EDNY found that White Glove failed to pay its home health aides and personal care aides the required wages and benefits owed to them pursuant to the Wage Parity Act; sought payment from Medicaid and received money for care performed by aides who were underpaid; and falsely certified compliance with the Wage Parity Act.
Between March 2012 and December 2018, White Glove underpaid its home care aides. As a result of the settlement announced today, White Glove will pay a total of $2 million to OAG for distribution to current and former employees.
White Glove will also revise company policies and procedures; train personnel on updated policies subject to OAG’s approval; and regularly report staff wages and policy implementations to OAG for a period of three years. If White Glove fails to comply with these terms or properly compensate its aides, OAG has the authority to bring a civil action against the agency and demand $15,000 in damages for violating its legal obligations.
White Glove will also pay more than $1.2 million to the Medicaid Program, of which $758,425.47 will go to New York state. The remaining $505,616.98 will be paid to the federal government.
The OAG and EDNY commenced these investigations after whistleblowers filed a complaint under the qui tam provisions of the New York False Claims Act and the federal False Claims Act in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The New York False Claims Act allows individuals to file actions on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. The state has since filed a notice of intervention against White Glove for the purposes of settling its Medicaid fraud claims.
Attorney General James thanks United States Attorney Peace and EDNY for their collaboration on this matter.
MFCU’s total funding for federal fiscal year (FY) 2023 is $65,717,936. Of that total, 75 percent, or $49,288,452, is awarded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $16,429,484 for FY 2023, is funded by New York state. Through MFCU’s recoveries in law enforcement actions, it regularly returns more to the state than it receives in state funding.
This matter was handled for MFCU by Special Assistant Attorneys General Ting Ting Tam, Jill D. Brenner, and Hillary G. Chapman under the supervision of MFCU Civil Enforcement Division Chief Alee N. Scott. The cases were investigated by Principal Auditor Investigator Milan Shah and Auditor-Investigator Khristian Diaz under the supervision of Regional Chief Auditor Stacey Millis. MFCU is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney. MFCU is a part of the Division for Criminal Justice, led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.
This matter was handled for the Labor Bureau by Assistant Attorneys General Anielka Sanchez Godinez and Kristen Ferguson with the assistance of Civil Enforcement Section Chief Fiona J. Kaye and Former Civil Enforcement Section Chief Ming-Qi Chu, under the supervision of former Deputy Bureau Chief Julie Ulmet and Bureau Chief Karen Cacace. Additional Assistance was provided by Data Scientist Chansoo Song and Deputy Director Megan Thorsfeldt of the Research and Analytics Department. The Labor Bureau is a part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux.
Both the Division for Criminal Justice and the Division for Social Justice are overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.