N.J. AG settles with home health agency

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced a consent order Wednesday with a Somers Point-based home healthcare agency that allegedly placed uncertified aides in patients' homes.

Under the terms of the consent order, Infinity Healthcare LLC and Jerome Kurmas, the company's president and sole owner, agreed to cease operating and Kurmas is permanently enjoined from operating any similar business. The agreement follows a March inspection in which the Division of Consumer Affairs interviewed Kurmas and his employees and reviewed company documents.

The DCA found that none of the employees listed in Infinity's files were certified by the State Board of Nursing to practice as home health aids. Infinity allegedly regularly placed the uncertified employees in patient's homes. Infinity also allegedly violated the regulation by failing to match the specific needs of clients with the qualifications of the aide, failed to verify the license status of each individual before referral or placement, and failed to verify each employee's work history or license status.

Additionally, Infinity allegedly violated the Health Care Firm Regulations by failing to conduct a 30-day client health care review, failing to conduct a 60-day on-site in home evaluation and failing to establish a written plan of care for each patient. The company also failed to keep adequate records of employees' activities or patient care.

"Consumers expect home health agencies to responsibly care for vulnerable loved ones who are severely limited in their ability to care for themselves," Chiesa said. "Certified home health aides may perform everything from in-home medical care to help with bathing, grooming, eating, and walking. Any home health care company that sends uncertified and unqualified employees to patients' homes, or fails to evaluate the care received by its clients, is committing an unconscionable violation of the public's trust - and of New Jersey's laws. I commend the Division of Consumer Affairs for acting to protect the public from substandard care."

The inquiry into Infinity's closure is part of a large initiative looking into home healthcare agencies to determine if the companies are in compliance with consumer protection laws. Home healthcare agencies contract with patients to provide certified home health aides or licensed nurses on a rotating basis to care for individuals in their homes. Home health aides must be certified by the State Board of Nursing.

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