NEWARK - The Division of Consumer Affairs and Viaquest Home Health L.L.C. of
Toms River have entered into a Consent Order that concludes an investigation
into the company's business practices.
Viaquest Home Health, which does business as At Home Senior Care, employs and
assigns individuals to provide health care or personal care services in the
home. The settlement with Viaquest Home Health is the third such agreement
reached this summer between the Division and health care services firms. The
company made no admission of liability in settling with the state and cooperated
in resolving this matter.
"So many consumers depend on the caregivers provided by health care services firms. The operational changes that these firms have made, as required by their settlements with the Division, ensure that consumers will receive the level of care that they are paying for," said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director.
As part of the injunctive relief, Viaquest is required to:
Not place uncertified homemaker-home health aides with patients/employers who have contracted for and/or require the assistance of a certified homemaker-home health aide;
Verify the license status of each Health Care Practitioner prior to placement or referral;
Fulfill its duty to match credentials to need by making diligent inquiry of employers and Health Care Practitioners in order to ascertain the relevant needs of the place of employment and the Health care Practitioner's qualifications, prior to placement or referral; respondent shall not place or refer a Health Care Practitioner whose qualifications do not reasonably match the needs and requirements of a patient/employer;
Verify the Health Care Practitioner's work history by confirming employment at all disclosed locations for the one-year period prior to the date of application, prior to placement or referral; respondent shall make a written record of such verification with the name and title of the individual providing the information;
Inquire, at a minimum of once every 30 days, whether the plan of care is adequate to meet the needs of the patient/employer and whether the plan of care is being discharged appropriately, once a placement or referral of a Health Care Practitioner has been made;
Conduct, at a minimum of once every 60 days, an on-site in-home evaluation of the place of care, once a replacement or referral of a Health Care Practitioner has been made; and
Conduct all criminal background/history checks.
Deputy Attorney General Cathleen O'Donnell of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section represented the state in this matter. Investigators Don Golden and Joseph Singh led the investigation.
The Division previously reached settlements with VC Services, L.L.C., which does business as Affinity Care of New Jersey, and Preferred Health Mate, Inc.
The Division, through its Regulated Business Section, registers and oversees health care service firms which provide health care or personal care services either in the home or at a care-giving facility. Personal care services include bathing, toileting, transferring, dressing, grooming, and assistance with ambulation, exercise, or other aspects of personal hygiene.
A list of all health care service firms registered in New Jersey can be viewed at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ocp/agency.pdf . For further information, contact the Division's Regulated Business Section at 973-504-6370.