Home elder care firms charged with state violations
Six health care service firms in Ocean, Monmouth and Burlington Counties that serve the elderly at home are among 36 throughout New Jersey cited for regulatory violations by the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs.
State officials seek civil penalties amounting to $242,850, according to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.
Authorities said that some firms entered into consent orders to pay the penalties, but declined to identify them individually.
Each provider can contest the allegations or correct the violations, pay the penalty, and if not registered, apply for state registration..
Infractions include, variously, failure to maintain accurate records, failure to establish patient plans of action, and sending unqualified or uncertified care givers to patients' homes.
Locally, they include Lakewood of BP Senior Care and Accessible Home Health Care of New Jersey, both in Lakewood; Home Sweet Home Care, Barnegat; Always There in Home Health Care, Mt. Laurel; Senior Helpers, Manalapan; and Open Systems Health Care, Eatontown.
Penalties range from $1,000 to $23,850 for violations in three main categories:
Patient Record Violations - Lack of a plan of care in a patient file, or not organized by a licensed professional; failure to re-assess the plan every 30 to 60 days, and failure to match a homemaker-health aide's skills to patient needs.
Caregiver Record Violations - Failure to list a one-year eimployment history on a work application, failure to include an applicant's malpractice insurance information on an application, or failure to identfy former supervisors on an application.
Miscellaneous Violations - Failure to register with the Division of Consumer Affairs, failure to employ a licensed Health Care Practitioner Supervisor, failure to veruft each employee's license or certification status, failure to ask employers listed on applications for reasons of departure.
"People paying for in-home health care services for their loved ones have a right to expect those services will be tailored to meet their loved ones' needs, and will be provided by qualified individuals working under proper supervision," Porrino said in prepared comments.
"Firms that fail to meet these standards are not only violating the trust of their clients, they're breaking the law."