Ten home health care firms in Bergen County and one in Passaic County were among three dozen fined by the state for violations ranging from sloppy record-keeping to sending unqualified caregivers into patients' homes.
Three are in Hackensack and two in Englewood. Others are in Bergenfield, Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee and Teaneck ( see list, below ).
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued Notices of Violations (NOVs) seeking $242,850 in civil penalties for "alleged violations of the statutes and regulations governing agencies that place caregivers in the homes of senior citizens and the disabled who need their services."
The highest North Jersey fine, $12,000, was levied Classic Elite Home Care Services of Teaneck.
Next was the $9,000 fine against Caring People Inc. of Clifton.
The highest in the state, $23,850, was levied against a Somerset County firm.
The North Jersey list:
- A&T Healthcare, Englewood, $3,000
- Above & Beyond Home Care Services, Inc., Hackensack, $4,000
- Affinity Home Care Services Inc., Englewood $3,500
- Right At Home (AJH), Hackensack, $4,000
- Classic Elite Home Care Services (B&C Enterprises), Teaneck, $12,000
- Comforcare Home Care (J&C Picache), Bergenfield, $6,000
- Comforcare (Jeren Enterprises), Hackensack, $1,000
- Santos 24/7 Home Care LLC, Fort Lee, $4,000
- Welcome Home Care LLC, Englewood Cliffs, $4,000
- Caring People Inc., Clifton, $9,000
“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,” Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino state. “Firms that fail to meet these standards are not only violating the trust of their clients, they’re breaking the law.”
Health care services firms are defined as businesses that “place or arrange for the placement of personnel to provide companion services, health care, or personal care services in the personal residence of a person with a disability or a senior citizen age 60 or older.”
The firms must be registered with the Division of Consumer Affair, and are inspected and investigated for compliance by the Office of Consumer Protection’s Health Care Service Firm Investigative Unit.
Each of the firms receiving notices can contest the fines in court or pay the penalty and correct the violation, authoritie said.
Anyone seeking at-home care should contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to ensure that the firm is registered with the Division, and whether it has been the subject of consumer complaints.
Consumers should also ask the division to verify whether individual nurses or CHHAs provided by the agency are licensed or certified by the State Board of Nursing.
Investigators Ronald Regen, Barby Menna, John Kulina, and Ray Yee of the Office of Consumer Protection’s Health Care Service Firm Investigative Unit conducted the investigation. Deputy Attorneys General from the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law are representing the state.
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