In-home care is one of the fastest growing sectors in the healthcare industry, since 2008 it has grown roughly 60 percent. When considering in-home health care for yourself or for a loved one, consider the risks with allowing someone frequent access to the home.
There are scam artists looking for nothing other than to gain access to a home to either harm someone financially, steal property, or harm someone physically. Those people who wish to harm someone often have fake nursing badges, identification in general, wear medical related clothing, or even have fake manager/supervisors. It is important to complete a thorough background check on anyone who is being considered as a healthcare provider.
A small amount of in-home healthcare providers prefer working with the elderly because it allows them to steal medication the person is being prescribed to either sell on their own or to take for themselves. Most in-home healthcare agencies weed these type of people out before being employed, however, if you decide to hire someone on your own then consider having the candidate complete a drug test.
Billing For Services That Were Not Provided
A major method of fraud when dealing with in-home care is when healthcare providers bill either Medicare or the individual for services that were not provided to the patient. There have been known cases of criminal negligence, resulting in the death of an elderly person, but the healthcare provider still collected payment. If you are going to have someone in the home, then find an effective compensation system which oversees the billing practises of the healthcare company or person.
Unnecessary Medical Treatments/Equipment
On the other side of being billed for services there were not provided, some healthcare providers give treatments that are not needed for the patient in order to collect the fees. Confirm that you understand the bill and the services listed on the bill. If the in-home health care provider is suggesting to bring in a piece of medical equipment then ensure that you understand all of the benefits this equipment provides. Seeking a second opinion is also a worthwhile exercise.
A major red flag when trying to find a good health care provider is the promise of waiving insurance deductibles. Most insurance companies and government care plans do not allow medical professionals to waive the deductible or co-payments, however, those health care providers who waive the deductible often file claims to insurance companies of false services in order to make up the difference in payments. Many providers who have been caught in this act justify the behavior by stating they are just assisting a patient who is unable to pay their medical bills.
Identity Theft & Licensing
Some in-home health care services will provide ‘free’ services in exchange for the patient’s Medicare card number or other personal information such as social security number, or credit card numbers. These in-home health care services are looking to steal the identity of the patient to file false claims, to purchase things in their name, or to reroute their social security checks.
Ensure the in-home health care provider you are considering is licensed with the state and they are able to provide not only the licensing documents but also references from other patients that are in similar situations.