Heart to Heart Home Care (Home Healthcare Fraud)
The whistleblower lawyers at MahanyLaw are presently investigating a home healthcare business called Heart to Heart Home Care. Located in New York City, the company claims to offer in home care to patients in the New York City and northern New Jersey area. Their website site says they offer a wide variety of services including adult social day care, behavioral health and skilled nursing. They also operate their own residential facilities.
Several days ago, we published an in-depth story about the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Since that story was posted, we have heard from both patients and home health aides, each having their own horror stories. After hearing from one patient, we stumbled across Heart to Heart.
Home healthcare is an industry racked with fraud. As soon as prosecutors finish with one home care agency, two more get indicted. We are not suggesting that all or even most of these agencies are run by crooks. And we especially don’t think most of front line care providers are bad either. Most qualify for angel’s wings. Still, when we hear complaints in certain industries, our suspicions are aroused.
According to a 2015 review on Manta, one family member said Heart to Heart aides failed to show up 20 times over a 75-day period. Worse, they would often bill for those days as if someone was present in the patient’s home. (The patient in this case was 90!)
We know better than to trust a website with just one review so we visited an employment site that lets workers rate their employer. There were 51 reviews there and many were not good. This is some of what we read:
- “Aide didn’t get enough training, lack of necessary knowledge for health care.” (This post coming from a manager!)
- “This company is the worst company to work for, they do not care about their consumers. The managers do nothing but steal the money from the consumers and nothing is done about it. They abuse the consumers and nothing is done when its reported! Don’t work here, oh and they pay $10 per hr. to work in horrible conditions!”
To be fair, there were some good reviews too.
A bad review doesn’t mean a company is engaging in billing fraud. Nor does several bad employee reviews. But add bad patient reviews, bad employee reviews, a patient complaint and in an industry filled with fraud, and we begin to see a pattern.
Home Healthcare Fraud Endangers Patient Safety – How You Can Help
Medicare fraud is not a victimless crime. Because Medicare and Medicaid are funded by tax dollars, someone that steals from Medicare is stealing form the entire community. Worse, when a company is spread too thin or puts profits over patients, the patients suffer. In the case of home healthcare, many of those patients are vulnerable and at risk. They can’t fend for themselves and they are too frightened to blow the whistle.
We are looking for healthcare workers with inside information about home care fraud schemes. That includes billing for services never performed, billing for untrained or none certified staff, billing for more hours of service than performed and upcoding. The latter involves billing for a higher level of service than provided. An example would be billing for an R.N. to make a home visit when the company instead sent a CNA.
Although a whistleblower complaint can be brought by a patient, we like insiders who can both verify the patient stories and have more proof of what is going on. Under the federal and New York False Claims Act, insiders who blow the whistle can qualify for cash awards of up to 30% of what the government collects from wrongdoers.
For more information, report online or call us at (414) 704-6731. See also our Hospice and Homecare whistleblower award page. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential. We prosecute Medicare fraud cases anywhere in the United States.
Louisiana Woman Heads to Prison for Medicaid Fraud (Monica Sylvest)
What do you do when your purse or wallet needs a sudden injection of money? There are many acceptable ways to answer that question. But 52-year-old Monica Sylvest from Marrero, Louisiana probably has the most novel approach. When she needed a cash infusion or injection, she would simply steal Medicaid money and show the expenditure as a “vaccination.”
Sylvest must have been very ill, because over a several month period prosecutors claimed she received $536,724 of “vaccinations”.
And how did she use the stolen money? A Harley motorcycle, artwork and diamond jewelry.
Earlier this year, Sylvest pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud. On Friday, October 13th, she was sentenced to a year and one day in prison .
People like Monica Sylvest are simply opportunists who don’t mind stealing from taxpayers or patients. (Since Medicaid is government funded, stealing from Medicaid means stealing from everyone.)
What makes this case unique is Sylvest’s position as practice administration of a suburban New Orleans pediatric clinic. Often, we see the owner of the clinic who is trying to steal Medicaid monies. Not this time. It appears that Sylvest had figured out a way to steal Medicaid money and steal from her employer. As a practice administrator, she certainly had the billing and financial knowledge to pull off the scheme. But like most thieves, she was ultimately caught.
We share this story to remind folks that healthcare fraud is rampant and occurs everywhere. Not a week goes by where we don’t learn of a new scam or scheme. As quick as we figure out what scheme, fraudsters are busy working on the next. As long as we have whistleblowers who are not afraid to stand up to fraud, greed and corruption, the bad guys won’t win.
If you go about reporting fraud correctly, you may be eligible for an award of up to 30% of whatever the government recovers from the wrongdoers. To learn more, visit our Louisiana whistleblower information page or report call attorney Brian Mahany at (414) 704-6731. Cases accepted nationwide.
All inquiries protected by the attorney – client privilege.