New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Seeks to Revoke Registration of Cape May County Health Care Service Firm That Allegedly Placed Uncertified Employees with Clients and Falsified Documents
NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is seeking to revoke the registration of Bergre Acquisitions, LLC, d/b/a “Home Care Specialists,” an Ocean City health care service firm that allegedly sent uncertified employees into the homes of patients that required the services of Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aides (“CHHA”), and falsified documents it provided to the state, among other violations.
New Jersey law defines a “health care service firm” as an employment agency that places personnel to provide companion, health care or personal care services in the homes of clients with disabilities or who are senior citizens.
In September 2015, the Division conducted an inspection of Home Care Specialists. In reviewing the records of five randomly selected clients and four employees assigned to them, investigators uncovered numerous alleged deficiencies in violation of the regulations that govern health care service firms.
The alleged deficiencies include:
Falsification of Documents:
Each health care service firm must employ a health care practitioner supervisor who, among other licensed professionals, can be a registered nurse in good standing with the State Board of Nursing.
In its 2015 registration renewal application, Home Care Specialists filed registration documents with the Division that named an individual who is a registered nurse as its health care practitioner supervisor. However, when investigators contacted that individual, she provided a sworn statement to the Division indicating she had applied for a job with Home Care Specialists but was never employed by the company and did not know it was using her name and licensing information.
Client Care Issues:
Before placing a care provider in the home of a client who requires care from a licensed or registered nurse or a CHHA, the health care service firm must:
- Verify that the employee is properly licensed as a nurse or certified as a homemaker-home health aide by the State Board of Nursing, keep a copy of the employee’s Board of Nursing license or certification in its files, verify the employee’s work history, and maintain certain other employee records;
- Create a plan of care for each client, and conduct 30-day client health care reviews, as well as 60-day on-site, in-home evaluations; and
- Only send homemaker-home health aides who are certified by the Board of Nursing as CHHAs, into the homes of clients who require the services of a CHHA.
Home Care Specialists allegedly failed to meet the above requirements. Specifically, the company allegedly:
- Placed four employees with clients without first verifying their license or certification status;
- Placed uncertified employees with two clients who required the services of a CHHA;
- Failed to create a plan of care for five clients;
- Failed to conduct a 30-day client health care review for four clients; and
- Failed to conduct a 60-day on-site, in-home evaluation for four clients.
Based on the above findings, among other things, the Division’s Acting Director Steve Lee signed a Provisional Order of Revocation that provisionally will assess a $2,000 civil penalty and provisionally will revoke the health care service firm registration of Home Care Specialists. Home Care Specialists can request a hearing contesting the provisional revocation, penalties, and findings.
Investigator Ron Regen, assigned to the Office of Consumer Protection within the Division of Consumer Affairs, conducted this investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Labinot A. Berlajolli, of the Division of Law, is representing the State in this matter.
Advice for Consumers Seeking a Health Care Service Firm for At-Home Care:
Consumers seeking assistance from a health care service firm for at-home client care should make contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to ensure that the health care service firm is registered with the State, 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 registered by the State Board of Nursing.
Consumers can find additional information in these documents, available free of charge at the Division’s website:
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse,
can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting
its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.
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