A troubled nursing home chain operating in Massachusetts is now in the state attorney general’s crosshairs after letting health insurance lapse for its employees.
Synergy Health Centers deducted health insurance premiums from its employees’ paychecks but failed to pay the insurer for 10 of the New Jersey-based company’s nursing homes, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.
Failing to pay premiums after deducting funds from staff paychecks violates Massachusetts wage laws.
“Our office will review this matter and plan on reaching out to the company to get more information,” a spokesman for the attorney general’s office said.
A message left at the number listed on Synergy’s website was not returned Monday, and an email to its general address was bounced back as undeliverable.
Eight Synergy homes are in the hands of Next Step Healthcare as a court-appointed receiver “which is trying to untangle a labyrinth of unpaid bills,” the Globe reported. CEO Damian Dell’Anno told McKnight’s that insurance coverage has been restored to employees, and Synergy plans to reimburse workers for any claims paid out of pocket while insurance was lost between June and August.
Synergy has more than $31 million in unpaid mortgage loans and other debts, including lack of payment to Next Step, the Globe notes.
Dell’Anno said that Synergy is not alone in its struggles, with reimbursement failing to cover costs for skilled care providers. Massachusetts reimburses at about $37 less than it requires to take care of a resident each day on Medicaid, and many of the states bankruptcies have been driven by Medicaid failing to reimburse facilities adequately the past 10 years. He said residents continue to receive quality care at the homes, despite financial difficulties.
“The crux of the problem here is that Massachusetts nursing homes are facing an unprecedented financial crisis. Half the facilities are operating with negative margins,” said Dell’Anno, whose company owns and operates 28 facilities across the state.