Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell today issued an advisory to remind temporary nursing agencies about the permissible rates that may be charged to long-term care facilities in light of . In light of allegations that some temporary nurse staffing agencies have attempted to overcharge, demand additional fees, or enter misleading arrangements with long-term care facilities.
BOSTON — Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell today issued an advisory to remind temporary nursing agencies about the permissible rates that may be charged to long-term care facilities. In light of allegations received by the AG’s Office that some temporary nurse staffing agencies have attempted to overcharge, demand additional fees, or enter misleading arrangements with long-term care facilities, this advisory is intended to ensure that all rates charged by temporary nursing agencies are consistent with Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) rules and regulations.
“Affordability continues to be a major challenge for Massachusetts residents and their loved ones seeking long-term care, which is why temporary nurse staffing agencies need to adhere to state regulations,” said AG Campbell. “Today’s advisory serves as a resource to these agencies and a reminder that my office stands ready to act if temporary nursing agencies attempt to overcharge or mislead long-term care facilities in the Commonwealth.”
The AG’s Office has received complaints of the following conduct by temporary nursing agencies, each of which constitutes a violation of EOHHS regulations:
- Offering to contract with long-term care facilities for temporary nursing services at rates in excess of the maximum rate;
- Claiming that the maximum rates have been suspended due to COVID-19 when they have not;
- Requesting holiday pay for services rendered on dates that are not listed as agreed-to holidays in contracts between the temporary nursing agency and long-term care facility;
- Attempting to improperly classify employees as travel nurses or fixed-term employees;
- Demanding an additional fee for a temporary nursing agency employee to pick up a shift, often shortly before a shift begins, which is commonly referred to as a “pickup bonus”;
- Requesting an additional fee or higher rate for scheduling a temporary nursing agency employee to a shift within 48 hours of the start of the shift;
- Offering long-term care facilities an opportunity to “boost” the rate to be paid to a temporary nursing agency employee, often shortly before a shift begins;
- Proposing rates in excess of the maximum rate during inclement weather;
- Proposing rates in excess of the maximum rate based on the number of current cases of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities; and
- Providing bonuses to temporary nursing employees and charging long-term care facilities for those bonuses, resulting in long-term care facilities paying the temporary nursing agency above the maximum rate.
The AG’s Office has authority to investigate and prosecute noncompliance with EOHHS regulations governing temporary nurse staffing agencies. Concerns or complaints regarding temporary nurse staffing at Massachusetts long-term care facilities can be made to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at 617-963-2360, or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification at 617-753-8150.