Attorney General James Stops Home Care Company from Deceiving Patients and Caregivers
Affordable Senior Care of New York and Laszlo Friedman to Pay $400,000 in Penalties for Unlawful ‘No Poach’ Agreement
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James stopped a home care company, Affordable Senior Care of New York LLC (Affordable), from preventing patients and their caregivers from choosing the provider of their choice. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that Laszlo Friedman, acting on behalf of Affordable, entered into an unlawful no-poach agreement with a competitor, Marks Homecare Agency, to not take each other’s existing patients. The OAG found that on several occasions, vulnerable patients were unable to switch to a provider that could have paid their caregivers more. As a result of today’s agreement, Affordable and Mr. Friedman cannot enter into any anti-competitive agreements in the future, must pay the state $400,000, and will cooperate with OAG’s ongoing investigations in the home care industry. Attorney General James previously announced a $550,000 settlement with Marks Homecare and its executive for its illegal no-poach agreement with Affordable.
“Home care companies like Affordable Senior Care are entrusted to make it easier to take care of a loved one, but instead they broke that trust and broke state laws,” said Attorney General James. “Patients and their caregivers should be able to work with the provider of their choice. This agreement puts an end to harmful backroom deals in the home care industry that limit patients’ options and reduce caregiver wages. New Yorkers can rest assured that my office will continue to stand up to companies that violate the law.”
Affordable is a Brooklyn-based fiscal intermediary in the home care industry that administers caregiver payments for patients enrolled in the New York State Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP). Fiscal intermediaries handle timesheet processing, payments to a patient’s caregivers, and other administrative jobs on behalf of patients. New York’s CDPAP allows patients who require long-term care to hire a family member or a friend as their caregiver. In a competitive market, a patient would choose the fiscal intermediary that pays their chosen caregiver a higher hourly wage and/or a company with better services.
The OAG investigation found that Affordable, and Mr. Friedman acting on behalf of Affordable, entered into an unlawful agreement with another fiscal intermediary, Marks Homecare, to not take each other’s existing patients. This agreement prevented patients and their chosen caregivers from moving to the company of their choice. On several occasions, patients tried to switch to Affordable but were rejected because they were patients of Marks Homecare. Affordable and Marks Homecare also exchanged information about the hourly rates they were paying caregivers to reduce competition.
As a result of today’s agreement, Affordable and Mr. Friedman cannot enter into any anti-competitive agreements that restrict options for patients. They must also administer an antitrust compliance program with a training for its management and executive personnel. Affordable must provide annual reports to OAG on its compliance with this agreement for the next five years. Affordable must pay a $350,000 penalty to the state and Mr. Friedman must pay a $50,000 penalty to the state.
Today’s agreement continues Attorney General James’ work to stop unlawful no poach agreements that harm workers and reduce competition. In December 2022, Attorney General James ended the use of no-poach agreements by Marks Homecare and Martin Ganz. Also in December, Attorney General James ended the use of no poach agreements by Stewart Title Guaranty Corporation, one of the largest underwriters of title insurance in the country. This was preceded by similar settlements in July 2022, ending the use of “no-poach” agreements by two other top title insurance companies, AmTrust and First Nationwide. In September 2021, Attorney General James ended the use of “no-poach” agreements by another top national title insurer, Old Republic National Title. In March 2019, Attorney General James and a coalition of attorneys general entered into an agreement with four national fast food franchisors — Dunkin’, Arby’s, Five Guys, and Little Caesars — that ended their use of “no-poach” agreements.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General James Yoon and Michael Jo of the Antitrust Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Elinor R. Hoffmann and Deputy Bureau Chief Amy McFarlane. The Antitrust Bureau is a part of the Division of Economic Justice, which is overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.