News10NBC investigates: NYS gives nursing assistants a raise, but insurance companies keep most of it

ROCHESTER, NY – News10NBC is investigating an issue with money that should go to people caring for people with disabilities. Sometimes it’s their own children.

New York state approved a $2.50 an hour pay rise for home care workers, but the state, healthcare workers and the agencies that pay them say some insurance companies are keeping most of it.

As a result, agencies have eliminated regular overtime. And that basically negates the increase.

Mary Mann and her husband Mark are the home nurses for their daughter Claire. They routinely work 17 overtime hours a week at their Brighton home to look after her.

But in March they received a letter from the Center for Disability Rights, the agency that pays them, regarding their hours and raises.

It was said that they worked overtime because “the state gave [the raise] to insurance companies with no obligation to pass on” to the agencies.

By the time OT ends, the Manns will be losing more than $400 a week. There goes her exaltation.

“This increase should apply to home care providers,” said Mary Mann. “And where are you going? The insurance companies.”

“I’m kind of angry at the state,” said Mark Mann. “Why shouldn’t they do anything about it? Why are they allowing this? You must be aware at this point.”

You are now. Dozens of home care workers and the agencies that pay them gathered at the state Capitol today.

That’s how money works. The state sends it to insurance companies with managed care programs. The insurance companies pass the money on to agencies like the Center for Disability Rights. The agencies pay the home care workers. But agencies and the state say insurance companies keep most of the raises.

READ :  Insurance premium hikes cause concern more Louisiana homes will become unaffordable

“And what upstate agencies typically saw was anywhere from 0 to 0.20 cents an hour, with the insurance companies taking the rest,” said Bryan O’Malley, executive director of CDPAAYNS, the consumer-focused New York agency.

Brean: “So the solution would be for the state to tell the insurance companies — don’t hold on to that extra money.”

O’Malley: CDPAAYNS: “That goes a long way towards solving this problem.”

An insurance company, icircle, based in Webster, declined to comment.

MVP Health wrote, “Aware of the tax change for home health caregivers, MVP Health has worked with providers to pay for services at a level consistent with the increase in funding and available New York State guidance. As a regional, not-for-profit healthcare plan, MVP values ​​a collaborative relationship with healthcare providers in our communities and the important role they play in treating our members. We will continue to review and implement any new regulatory guidance on this matter consistent with New York State rules and requirements.”

Excellus BCBS did not issue a statement.

Neither did Fidelis after we asked for it on a Monday, but in an email we received to an agency in December, Fidelis wrote: “There should never be OT in the program.”

When the state passed the increases for home caregivers, the law did not specify how the money would get to workers.

State Senator Rachel May of Syracuse said at the Capitol rally, “Even though we increased wages by $2, the insurance companies gave the agencies that had to pay just 0.25 cents or 0.50 cents more of that extra two dollars.”

READ :  Facebook and TikTok are approving ads with 'blatant' misinformation about voting in midterms, researchers say

May is sponsoring a law that would force insurance companies to pass the money through.

“We want the Department of Health to set minimum rates that have to be paid to the agencies that hire the workers,” she said.

That would bring the workers the money.

Brean: “Not the insurance companies?”
May: “That’s the idea.”

Click here to vote on Senator May’s bill. Look for “Do you support this law?” on the right side of the webpage.

For related stories: Home Care Aids