Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $6.4 Million Settlement With Brooklyn Home Health Care Provider Over False Medicaid Billing And Cover Up


Home Family Care, Inc. Billed Medicaid for Services of Unqualified Care Providers and Aides on Vacation When They Were Supposed to be Caring for Elderly Medicaid Recipients – Then Falsified Records to Cover Up the Neglect
Supervisor Responsible for Neglect to Pay $100,000 in Separate Settlement
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that Home Family Care, Inc. (“Home Family”) of Brooklyn, NY and its President, Alexander Kiselev, will pay $6.415 million to resolve allegations that they violated the federal and New York False Claims Acts by falsely billing the New York State Medicaid program for home health care services that were not provided or that were provided by unqualified staff.
The settlement resolves allegations in a complaint filed by the State of New York and the United States that Home Family routinely permitted its aides to circumvent verification procedures purportedly put in place by Home Family to ensure that its aides were providing scheduled services to Medicaid recipients who depended upon them. As alleged in the complaint, even after Home Family put in place an electronic attendance verification system which purportedly required aides to call a central number to “clock in” and “clock out” of their shifts before their services could be billed, Home Family aides routinely ignored this requirement and failed to clock in or out of their shifts – yet were still paid for them.
“New Yorkers place the highest level of trust in home care providers to care for their vulnerable family members,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to make clear that there are serious consequences for neglecting vulnerable home care patients – and even further consequences for trying to cover it up before sending New Yorkers the bill.”
Medicaid is a jointly funded federal-state program that provides health care to vulnerable individuals. Home Family operates a Licensed Home Care Services Agency (“LHCSA”), which provides home health aide and personal care aide services to frail and elderly individuals, including Medicaid recipients, who need assistance with activities such as cooking, cleaning, dressing, and bathing. Home Family bills these services to Managed Long Term Care (“MLTC”) Plans and Certified Home Health Agencies (“CHHA”), which in turn bill the New York State Medicaid Program for these services. As a LHCSA, Home Family was obligated to ensure that the home health care services – which its clients depended upon to remain in their homes – were provided by qualified staff, and to maintain records documenting the services that were rendered.  
The Attorney General’s complaint alleges that the aides’ supervisors, known as Coordinators, in turn, modified or created call entries in the attendance verification system to make the records appear as if the aides had clocked in or out of their shifts. The complaint also alleges that Home Family then billed for these services, without even attempting to contact the aides or otherwise verify that the aides had visited their clients. As further alleged in the complaint, Michael Gurevich, a former Vice President of Home Family who had responsibility for supervising the Coordinators, was aware of the efforts of Home Family aides and Coordinators to circumvent Home Family’s attendance verification systems and took no measures to stop it. In a separate agreement, Mr. Gurevich has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve the allegations against him. 
The complaint further alleges that, as a result of Home Family’s circumvention of its own attendance verification systems and procedures, Home Family on multiple occasions billed for services of aides who were traveling outside of the country during times when they were supposed to be caring for their clients. In one instance, Home Family billed for the services of an aide who was vacationing on the island of St. Maarten on the dates when Home Family claimed he was providing these services.   
In addition, as alleged in the complaint, Home Family employed numerous individuals who were not qualified to provide home health care services, and who utilized false identifies stolen from qualified individuals in order to obtain employment. Furthermore, even after Alexander Kiselev became aware that unqualified individuals were obtaining employment at Home Family using false identities, the complaint alleges that neither Mr. Kiselev nor anyone else at Home Family took any meaningful steps to ensure that Home Family’s clients were being properly cared for by qualified aides. 
The investigation was triggered by a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the federal and New York False Claims Acts, which allow private persons, known as “relators,” to file civil actions on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. The case is docketed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York under number 10-CV-2490. The investigation and settlement were the result of a coordinated effort among the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and HHS-OIG. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliot Schachner. 

Bronx Jewish Community Council - Exciting Volunteer Collaborations in February




Exciting Volunteer Collaborations in February 2018

If you are associated with any of these institutions or want to donate to the Pack it up for Purim food collection, please do! We greatly appreciate all your help!


Feb 1
UJA Larchmont:   
UJA Federation Larchmont/Mamaroneck sandwich making

Feb 7
YSOP: Teens volunteering at the Food Pantry

Feb 11
Kinneret Day School: sandwich making

Feb 11
Shaarie Tikvah Scardsale:  
Packing 200 Shalach Manot packages for our clients

Feb 12
UJA Engage and Beth El Synagogue Center:
Hamantaschen Baking

Feb  12-26
Pelham JCC: Pack it up for Purim food collection event

Feb 21
Annual BJCC Purim party for our clients

Feb 28 
UJA-Federation: sandwich making

And a special thank you to the JCC Harrison for making beautiful center peices for out Tu B'Svat Party 

Learn more about Bronx Jewish Community Council's volunteer opportunities and how to get involved at www.bjcconline.org 

 
Bronx Jewish Community Council, 

NATIONAL PUERTO RICAN DAY PARADE LAUNCHES 2018 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM



Applications available now on NPRDPinc.org
Deadline is March 30, 2018
 
Eligibility nationwide, including Puerto Rico
New:  Past recipients now eligible to re-apply

  The National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) is now accepting applications for its 2018 National Scholarship Program.
 
This year the program will award 100 scholarships valued at $2,000 each, for a total $200,000, to exceptional students of Puerto Rican descent that are making a difference in their communities.  Applicants must be high school seniors or full-time college/university students in their freshman through junior years in college. 
 
To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • Be of Puerto Rican descent;
  • Have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better, or the equivalent high school grade;
  • Be a high school senior or freshman through junior in college, ages of 17 through 25;
  • Be enrolled in an accredited two or four year college/university, for college students;
  • Have a track record of doing volunteer work or community service;
  • Participate in an interview with a member(s) of the scholarship selection committee.
For the first time in the program's history, previous scholarship winners are eligible to re-apply, given that they comply with all other eligibility rules. 
 
Applications are available for download at www.nprdpinc.org.  Candidates must submit completed applications, essays and biographies electronically to NPRDP.Scholars@gmail.com by Friday, March 30, 2018.  Letters of recommendation and sealed transcripts should be mailed together to National Puerto Rican Day Parade, P.O Box 975, New York, NY 10272 by Friday, March 30, 2018.  Materials received after this date will result in the applicant's disqualification.  
 
NPRDP National Scholarship Application packages must include: a completed application form; an essay; a written biography; two letters of recommendation, of which one letter of recommendation must be from the site where the student performs his/her volunteer work; official academic transcripts and a head shot photo.  Letters of recommendation should be requested from teachers, professors, counselors, mentors, clergy, community leaders, etc.  The letters should highlight the applicant's volunteer community service, length of the relationship with the candidate, and the specific contributions the applicant has made to the community.
 
NPRDP established the Scholarship Program to promote the pursuit of higher education in the Puerto Rican community.  Last year, the organization broke its all-time record for total number and dollar amount of scholarships to be awarded (100 scholarships valued at $2,000 each, for a total $200,000), which the organization was able to maintain in 2018.
 
For more information about other NPRDP programs and updates on the upcoming annual parade on Sunday June 10, 2018, the public can visit www.nprdpinc.org.  Facebook: @nationalpuertoricandayparade.  Twitter and Instagram: @PRParadeNYC.

News From State Senator Marisol Alcantara





Co-signed Bill to Push Back Primary Date to Accomodate Rosh Hashanah

After a call from a constituent, I cosponsored S7597, which would change the statewide primary date from Tues, 9/11 to Thurs. 9/13 in recognition of Rosh Hashanah and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This is one more reason to push for early voting and no-excuse absentee voting- New Yorkers should not have to choose between religious observance and voting! Our current law does not include religious observance as a reason to vote absentee.



DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES CITYWIDE GUIDANCE AND NYPD PROTOCOL TO CODIFY RESTRICTIONS ON ASSISTANCE WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT


New guidance implements Local Law 228, and prohibits City agencies from entering into agreements that would place employees under the direction or supervision of ICE, including 287(g) agreements

  The de Blasio Administration today announced the issuance of citywide guidance and new NYPD protocols to clarify and institutionalize the City’s policy that it will not voluntarily cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities, and will only coordinate in limited circumstances, including where there is a public safety risk. In addition, the guidance prohibits City agencies from entering into formal or informal arrangements in which employees are placed under the direction or supervision of federal immigration officials, such as 287(g) agreements with ICE.

“We have been very clear that that our police officers and employees will not be a part of a federal deportation force,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This new guidance reinforces that clear line. The City is committed to ensuring that immigrant New Yorkers have confidence in interacting with their local government in order to protect and promote public safety for all.”

“The NYPD’s job is to fight crime and keep New Yorkers safe,” said Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “This codifies existing procedure to ensure the NYPD is doing just that. The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. The NYPD does not seek individual’s immigration status. Our work can only be done if every New Yorker has trust in the police and is willing to work with us in our collective efforts to ensure the safety of every neighborhood and every block of this great city.”

The new citywide guidance and the new NYPD protocols, issued pursuant to Local Law 228 of 2017, ensure that the City’s policy is institutionalized across the municipal government. In addition, the new guidance and protocols will ensure that any federal immigration officials’ requests for assistance will be reviewed in advance by senior City agency officials and assessed based on City policies such as the need to protect public safety, not for purposes of providing assistance with deportation.

The newly codified NYPD protocols have been issued to all members of the Police Department in an order from Police Commissioner O’Neill. Effective immediately, any requests for assistance with enforcement activities from a federal immigration enforcement agency are to be responded to in accordance with Local Law 228. Consistent with current policy, NYPD shall only coordinate with or assist ICE in instances where the citywide Duty Chief (that Chief in charge of citywide operations at the time of the incident) has identified a public safety issue and conferred with the NYPD Legal Bureau on the need to coordinate with or provide assistance to ICE. In emergency, life-safety related situations, the decision will be made by the highest ranking uniformed officer on the scene, with immediate notification to the Operations Unit.

City agencies, including the NYPD, will continue to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies in certain circumstances, including as part of inter-governmental criminal task forces focusing on topics such as gangs, human trafficking, and terrorism, and by sharing information about individuals in the City’s criminal custody who have been convicted of one of approximately 170 qualifying violent or serious felonies under the City’s existing laws on immigration detainer requests.

The local law and the new guidance issued today prohibit City agencies from entering into 287(g) agreements in which local officers or employees are deputized by ICE to perform immigration enforcement. These agreements, which are in place elsewhere in the country, have been emphasized as an immigration enforcement tool by ICE under the Trump Administration.

The City remains in compliance with federal law and the U.S. Constitution, notwithstanding the U.S. Department of Justice's attempts to unilaterally impose immigration-related conditions on public safety grant funds that Congress intended to support local policing and prosecutors. The law and guidance do not regulate the disclosure of information described by 8 U.S.C.  1373, which is governed by the City's generally applicable confidentiality policy.

“New York City has long been at the forefront of asserting local government leadership in immigrant inclusion,” said Bitta Mostofi, Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “With this guidance, we are ensuring the solidity and longevity of the City’s commitment to restricting assistance to federal immigration officials where it is not in our public safety interests.”

“The NYPD should always be focused on ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers, while keeping a clear line between any deportation efforts within the five boroughs,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. “The day we start helping ICE is the day we lose the public trust, which is why this guidance and protocol is so critical. I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and Police Commissioner O’Neill for their commitment to maintaining New York City as a sanctuary city.

FIRST LADY CHIRLANE MCCRAY ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS TO ALL FIVE BOROUGHS


City has invested $3.3 million to support the implementation of Mental Health Teams at all five of the City’s Family Justice Centers to address the unique mental health needs of domestic violence survivors

  First Lady Chirlane McCray, Commissioner Cecile Noel of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence and NYC Health + Hospitals announced the expansion of Mental Health Teams at all five of the City's Family Justice Centers, with one in each borough. The City has invested $3.3 million to expand the Family Justice Centers holistic approach to mental health through trauma-informed psychotherapy and psychiatric services. The Mental Health Teams are an expansion of a program first piloted at the Bronx Family Justice Center in 2015 to deliver on-site clinical psychiatric services to survivors; a collaborative effort of ThriveNYC, the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, NYC Health + Hospitals, the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Centersponsored by the Chapman Perelman Foundation.

The Mental Health Teams will provide onsite clinical psychiatric and psychological assessments for clients within the FJC collaborative framework. Each team will work with clients to develop individualized treatment plans, which may include individual therapy, group therapy, psychoeducation and medication management. Clients will be able to attend workshops where they will learn adaptive techniques for dealing with trauma. As of December 2017, more than 250 survivors of domestic violence have already received mental health services at the City’s five FJCs.

“Nearly half of all women whose lives were lost last year occurred at the hands of an intimate partner - a grim reality nationwide as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is why New York City continues to make early intervention and access to support for individuals a priority for those who have suffered trauma from intimate partner violence. The expansion of services will ensure survivors have greater access to the mental health services they need to heal,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, Co-Chair of the Domestic Violence Task Force.

In recognition of pilot program’s success, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in 2015 that New York City would replicate this mental health service model to FJCs across the five boroughs. There is a wide body of literature documenting the link between domestic violence and mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, as well as increased substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Domestic violence programs that have incorporated on-site trauma-informed counseling have demonstrated that such programs have a significant impact on supporting survivors’ emotional healing, strengths, resilience, and recovery.

“This Administration has an unwavering commitment to both assuring all New Yorkers have access to mental health services and all survivors of domestic violence receive the resources and support they need,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “Through this investment we will now ensure that our Family Justice Centers not only address critical safety needs of survivors, but also meet their mental health needs through a holistic approach.  I am proud of our City agencies who are working together to make this a reality.”

“Addressing the mental health needs of survivors is a critical part of safety planning, and our efforts to help survivors heal,” said Cecile Noel, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. “The expansion of mental health programs into the FJCs ensures that survivors have even greater access to services that will help them move forward and rebuild their lives.”

“Through the first adopters of our program, we’ve seen the meaningful impact of convenient access to behavioral health services for so many survivors of domestic violence,” said Charles Barron, MD, Medical Director of Behavioral Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “We are very pleased that these services are now available in all five boroughs.”

“Survivors of IPV and their families often suffer with mental health needs as a consequence of trauma, but unfortunately face multiple barriers to accessing psychiatric and psychological services in traditional settings,” said Elizabeth Fitelson, MD, Co-Director of the Women’s Program at Columbia University. “Through our pilot partnership with the Chapman Perelman Foundation and OCDV, and now joining with a team of dedicated clinicians through NYC Health + Hospitals we have seen what a powerful positive impact providing collaborative, culturally appropriate care where survivors can access it has on survivors and their families.”     

                                                                
 “The Chapman Perelman Foundation has been proud to partner with Columbia University and the Mayor’s Office on this important and unique initiative,” said Anna Chapman, MD, of the Chapman Perelman Foundation. “In addition to providing critical trauma-informed clinical services to survivors of domestic violence city-wide, Columbia University's team of psychiatrists and psychologists are helping to disseminate an awareness of the mental health needs of domestic violence survivors, to all of the service providers with whom they come into contact.”

The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence manages the City’s five FJCs in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The Centers serve as one-stop service centers to reduce barriers for victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, sex trafficking, and connect them to services in their language, regardless of immigration status, income, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The City’s Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 and provides safety planning, referrals, and connections to emergency housing for victims of domestic violence. Individuals can contact the City’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE.

The de Blasio administration is prioritizing new and innovative approaches and responses to domestic violence and launched the NYC Domestic Violence Task Force last year, an $11 million initiative, which is implementing a set of 32 recommendations for a coordinated, citywide strategy to combat domestic violence. Co-chaired by First Lady Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, the work of the Task Force is led by Elizabeth Glazer, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Cecile Noel and the Task Force’s Executive Director Bea Hanson.

New York City has made significant strides towards combating domestic violence and supporting survivors within the last year, including:

  • Signing Intro. 1313-A that expands paid leave to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking survivors to allow individuals the opportunity to tend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty or loss of income.
  • Forming a new protocol to intervene on behalf of families in high-risk domestic violence cases, receiving prevention services from the Administration for Children’s Services to be screened for risk factors and help develop safety plans – a recommendation from the NYC Domestic Violence Task Force.
  • Assisting FJC clients in housing related matters, in collaboration with the Office of Civil Justice. Domestic Violence Survivors can receive legal assistance or representation for eviction proceedings, rent arrears, foreclosures, housing discrimination and tenant harassment.
  • Expanding healthy relationship education to 128 middle schools throughout all five boroughs through the Early-Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (Early-RAPP). Additionally, through the Creating Awareness about Relationship Equality Program (CARE), which launched in 2016, more than 1,700 youth in foster care have participated in healthy relationship workshops. 

“Building up the mental health skills and capabilities of staff working with people who have experienced trauma is crucial to ensuring better paths to recovery,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “By increasing the ability of trusted Family Justice Center staff to respond to mental health needs, along with offering other social services, the City is making it easier for domestic violence survivors to get support. This is an exciting expansion of the work we’re doing as part of ThriveNYC to ensure every New Yorker has access to mental health services.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. - Annual Dominican Heritage Celebration 2018


Bronx Borough President 
Ruben Diaz Jr.
Cordially Invites You To

Dominican Heritage Month

Thursday, February 8, 2018 
5:30 pm

Grand Slam Banquet Hall

 
2018 Honorees
Honorable Carmen De La Rosa
New York state Assembly

Rudy Fuertes
President, National Supermarket Association

Assistant Chief Fausto Pichardo
Executive Officer
Patrol Services Bureau

Estela Vazquez
Executive Vice President
Montefiore / Montefiore Offsite / 
Bronx Independents 1199 SEIU


 For information & to RSVP call 718-590-3989 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Governor Cuomo Announces Taste NY Sales Increased to More than $16 Million in 2017


Program Sees $3 Million Increase Over 2016 through Taste NY Stores, Concessions and Events
Governor Proposes Expansion of Taste NY in 2018-19 Budget to Further Strengthen State's Food and Beverage Industry, Promote Agriculture and Tourism Statewide

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Taste NY sales continued to increase in 2017, growing to a record $16.1 million. Total gross sales of New York products from Taste NY stores, caf├ęs, bars, concessions and events topped last year's sales totals by $3 million. The significant year-over-year growth reflects increasing consumer demand for local food and beverage products, which supports New York's agricultural and tourism industries.

"Taste NY has put local products on the map, boosting tourism, helping local craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries grow, and increasing opportunities for producers in every corner of this great state," Governor Cuomo said. "By connecting consumers across the globe with fresh, locally-grown products, Taste NY continues to support the growth of farms and small businesses across New York."

The Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth and recognition since it was created in 2013. The program reported sales of $1.5 million in 2014, tripled those figures to $4.5 million in 2015, and $13.1 million in 2016. The exposure from Taste NY has helped the farms and companies participating in the program to reach more customers, increase online sales, and, in many cases, expand the processing capacity of their business. Taste NY's food and beverage businesses also support the State's farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products.

In the past year, Taste NY made products available at 13 new locations and participated in major, large events, such as The Northern Trust and the New York City Marathon. As part of Governor Cuomo's vision to construct a state-of-the-art Welcome Center in each region of the state, Taste NY is promoting local products at the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, New York City, and Central New York Welcome Centers, in addition to the Long Island Welcome Center that opened in 2016.

In 2017, Taste NY opened concessions in six additional state parks, bringing high-quality New York food and beverage products to park visitors. Guests can now find New York made food and drinks at a total of 10 properties, including Olana State Historic Site, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Jones Beach State Park, and Niagara Falls State Park. Together, parks selling local Taste NY food and beverages draw nearly 30 million visitors annually. In addition, last year, Taste NY launched the state's first-ever Taste NY Craft Beverage Week in New York City, hosted the Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge with celebrity and professional judges, and held the Taste NY Food Truck Competition and first-annual Craft Beer Competition at the Great New York State Fair.
A complete list of Taste NY locations can be found at www.taste.ny.gov. The 2017 Taste NY annual report is available here.

To build on the success of 2017 and further connect New York producers to new markets, Governor Cuomo's 2018-2019 Executive Budget proposes additional support for Taste NY. This year, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will identify ten core food and beverage categories that will be highlighted in New York's regional Welcome Centers to further strengthen Taste NY branding and tell the exciting stories behind New York's businesses. The Department will also coordinate with other state agencies on possible new Taste NY locations as infrastructure projects are developed across the state, including the reconstruction of train stations and airports.

Additionally, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will host five regional Business-to-Business Taste NY Networking events to connect New York farms, food and beverage businesses with buyers from institutions, retail locations, restaurants, bars, and distributors.

The Taste NY website, www.taste.ny.gov, will also be transformed to operate as a one-stop resource for residents, visitors, and businesses. The website's presentation, functionality and resources will be improved to provide better information on New York's agri-tourism destinations and better connect New York's producers to new markets.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Taste NY continues to bring unprecedented exposure to New York's farmers and food and beverage companies that are creating great eats for consumers around the globe. We're proud of the success of our Taste NY vendors, our stores and operators, and our partners who have helped to bring the Governor's vision for a buy-local program to a new level. We look forward to the continued growth of the program as we work on new ventures this year."