Compassionate Homecare Inc. operating out of Worcester, outside of Boston, has recently laid off the vast majority of its employees amid a probe by the state’s Attorney General’s office. At issue in this case is allegations of fraud committed by the agency.
The attorney general’s office began investigating 12 different agencies in the state that were suspected of filing false claims and defrauding the state’s Medicaid program. That program in Massachusetts is known as MassHealth.
While the investigation was ongoing, MassHealth took the unusual step of suspending payments that were earmarked for the agency. This was due directly to the allegations against it.
As noted in the Boston Globe article, Amid probe, home care agency cuts most staffers, written by Priyanka Dayal McClusky:
“Compassionate Homecare is one of a dozen home health companies the Executive Office of Health and Human Services referred to the attorney general after reviewing internal data and fielding consumer complaints that pointed to possible fraud. Officials did not name the agencies, but Compassionate Homecare disclosed its situation in a lawsuit filed against the state in January.”
As a direct result of those suspended payments, Compassionate Homecare Inc. recently laid off most of its staff and that has left many elderly and disabled adults scrambling to find adequate care. The agency claims that the state has withheld more than $5 million in payments without filing any charges or claims against the agency or any of its executives or owners.
The owner of the agency, Francis Kimaru, stated that he had been paying his employees, more than 800 of them, out of savings due to the funds being frozen, until he ran out of money. The nurses, home care aides, and other workers are now without work as a result, even though he hopes this is only temporary.
The company is doing what it can, it claims, to help more than 700 clients find appropriate and adequate services from other home health care agencies in the area. Mr. Kimaru has said that he opened his books to the state but they never discussed what claims they are investigating, so he can’t defend against them. He is maintaining a skeleton staff crew in hopes that the case is resolved soon. He also plans to pursue a lawsuit against the state for the allegations and subsequent challenges the agency is facing.
MassHealth is not required to disclose any information about the investigation while it is ongoing.
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