New York Attorney General Letitia James has ended an agreement between Marks Homecare and another home care company that was entirely illegal.
The agreement prevented patients and their caregivers from moving to a different provider if they wanted to. Upon investigation, it was found that Martin Ganz, representing Marks Homecare, had agreed with another competitor to not take each other’s current patients.
On several occasions, patients tried to switch to Marks Homecare but were rejected because they were patients of their competitor. Marks Homecare and its competitor also exchanged information about the hourly rates they were paying caregivers to reduce competition. Additionally, Marks Homecare and Martin Ganz attempted to enter into another unlawful agreement with a different competing fiscal intermediary.
As a result, Marks Homecare and Martin Ganz cannot enter into any anti-competitive agreements in the future, must pay the state $550,000, and will cooperate with OAG’s ongoing investigations in the home care industry.
“Vulnerable New Yorkers should be free to use the home care provider of their choice,” said Attorney General James. “By refusing to allow patients to switch providers, Marks Homecare created an unhealthy market that limited patients’ options and reduced caregivers’ wages. Today, we are holding Marks Homecare accountable for deceiving patients and restoring fairness to the home care industry to protect patients and caregivers.”
Marks Homecare is a Queens-based fiscal intermediary in the home care industry that administers caregiver payments for patients enrolled in the New York State Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). New York’s CDPAP allows patients who require long-term care to hire a family member or a friend as their caregiver. Fiscal intermediaries, such as Marks Homecare, are the entities that handle timesheet processing, payments to a patient’s caregivers, and other administrative functions on behalf of patients. In a competitive market, a patient would choose the fiscal intermediary that pays their chosen caregiver a higher hourly wage and/or a company with better services.