Help, my CDPAP Agency isn’t paying me!
Nothing is more frustrating than when your CDPAP agency doesn’t pay you. Whether it is a check missing a few hours or, in some cases, weeks of non-payment. It becomes an undue burden not only on the caregiver, but also on the patient who the caregiver is responsible for.
But what can you do? You are at the mercy of these fiscal intermediaries, right?
Wrong. You, the CDPAP caregiver, have a large amount of power to ensure you are paid timely and correctly for the service you provide.
Why CDPAP caregivers have the power
In most cases, CDPAP caregivers are friends or family members of the patient. Because of that, a bond exists before the business arrangement begins. Not only does the caregiver truly care for the health and happiness of the patient, the patient also cares for the caregiver in much the same way.
Because of this, the caregiver has a large amount of sway on which agency the patient chooses. Since the patient gets the care with whatever agency they choose, the caregiver has a vested interest in being with the best CDPAP agency possible. If the patient chooses an agency that pays low wages, the caregiver will simply not work for the patient.
Oftentimes the patient wants only the best for their caregiver, so they defer to the opinion of the caregiver on which agency to work with. Since the patient gets the same result regardless of the decision, the agency that best suits the caregiver is the primary factor.
If Agency A is paying minimum wage but Agency B is paying $3 more an hour, the patient is going to choose the agency that provides more value to their caregiver in the form of compensation. Remember, CDPAP agencies are simply glorified payroll agencies working directly or indirectly with Medicaid.
More than anyone, caregivers hold the power. If an agency is paying low rates or, in some cases, not paying caregivers properly, then the caregiver can advocate to the patient to move their case to a different agency who pays well and pays correctly.
What to do if your CDPAP agency isn’t paying you
As a caregiver, you have multiple ways you can get the money owed to you or at least ensure your voice and frustration is heard loudly.
Contact the agency
Let’s face it. We are all human, we all make mistakes. It happens.
However, when mistakes are made over and over and over again it is no longer a simple issue of human error but more of a systemic issue regarding poor management.
Whatever the issue, get in touch with someone at the CDPAP agency about the issue of your missing pay first and see what they say. If they are willing to fix the error quickly, great! You win.
If they give you excuses and ungodly long timelines, move to the next step.
Leave negative reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Glassdoor
Nothing sets a CEO, CX leader, marketing executive, or other members of the leadership hair on fire like a barrage of negative reviews.
In most cases, that is. Sometimes you have leaders who just don’t care. It is rare, but it happens.
What people don’t realize is that there is power in negative reviews, especially in bulk. While some of these sites will remove the negative reviews because the business has a commercial relationship with them, the odds of ALL of the sites removing the reviews are very low.
When reviewing a company, lay out all your complaints in a well thought out fashion. Remove as much emotion as you can and refrain from using profanity (as this will most likely have your review removed). Use as many names as you can in your review as this helps increase the seriousness your review is given.
If you take the time to post negative reviews on all those platforms, don’t be surprised if you get a response in less than two hours. Companies these days are listening and will spring into action faster than if you “talk to a supervisor”.
Contact the NY Department of Labor
In many cases, CDPAP caregivers are paid as a W2 employee (basically meaning you have taxes taken out of your check and may have benefits) of the fiscal intermediary (CDPAP agency). In that case, you are an employee in the truest sense of the word and are covered by the State of New York Department of Labor.
If you are owed back pay as an employee and the CDPAP agency you are working for isn’t fixing the issue or is giving you a hard time getting the money you are owed, file a complaint with the Department of Labor.
Once the Department of Labor gets enough complaints (especially concerning employee pay), they will launch an investigation into the business and could potentially trigger an audit by the Department of Financial Services (the agency responsible for tax collecting) if there are grounds surrounding questionable accounting or other business practices.
By doing this, you are not only filing a complaint to get what is owed for you, but you could also create enough of a headache with regulators and lawyer fees incurred by the business to force the managers of the agency to fix the problems for the long term.
If, however, you are a 1099 “independent contractor” then you have little option but to retain an attorney and file a claim in court.
File a complaint on Better Business Bureau
Typically the BBB is a good route to go in most cases; however, over the years the ability for the BBB to inspire change has become less in some industries. Still, if the business is accredited with the Better Business Bureau, file a complaint there too.
You will likely get a very generic, corporate response that may not resolve the issue entirely, but it’s an added stressor on top of dealing with all the negative reviews and DOL complaint responses.
Contact an attorney
There are hundreds of employment attorneys out there and many are sitting and waiting for easy, simple cases like yours to cross their desk.
Even better are the class action attorneys who, instead of charging you upfront, will take a cut of the money won if there are enough qualified individuals who also are having the same problems you are. While single case litigation is often accepted as a natural course of business, class action cases are expensive and damaging to the reputation of the business as a whole.
Most of these lawsuits are settled out of court anyways.
If you happen to know a group of other caregivers also owed back pay from the same CDPAP agency, it could be well worth it to work together with a good attorney.
Contact the NY Department of Health
Lastly, file a complaint with the Department of Health. CDPAP agencies and HHA agencies have licenses to operate inside the state of New York and multiple complaints to the licensing agency about unethical business practices (as not paying your employees is technically unethical) will raise eyebrows. These complaints could also trigger a Department of Health investigation which could cause those agencies unwilling or unable to pay their caregivers in a timely fashion to close their doors.
The New York Department of Health has an entire segment of people dedicated to handling complaints about home health agencies and hospices. You can file your complaints here:
Phone: 1-800-628-5972 (24 hours)
While this may not go as far as a Department of Labor complaint, it never hurts to ensure that your voice is heard at each level of the governing authority over CDPAP.
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