Coakley settles with health care company


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday that she has reached a settlement with a home health care company accused of deceptive marketing to veterans and their families.

P.J. Care LLC, doing business as Homewatch Caregivers of Western Massachusetts, allegedly collected thousands of dollars for home health care services after misrepresenting to consumers that they could lose their federal benefits if they canceled their association with P.J. Care.

These violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act are alleged to have happened between Dec. 2004-Feb. 2007.

Through its Veterans Salute program, P.J. Care allegedly claimed that eligible veterans and veterans' spouses who took part would be better situated to secure the Aid and Attendance benefit from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

That benefit can be used to cover the cost of home health care services, but P.J. Care's program did not help secure the benefit and is not affiliated with the VA in any way, Coakley says.

"We owe a great debt to our veterans and their families," Coakley said. "Using deceptive or heavy-handed sales tactics to sell home health or other benefits to these individuals will not be tolerated by my office.

According to terms of the settlement, P.J. Care will pay $68,979.63 in restitution to consumers and $34,000 in penalties and attorneys fees to the state. The company has also agreed to end any unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the marketing and advertising of home-health care services to veterans or their spouses.

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