Home Health Agency Suspended for Untrained Workers

A New Jersey home health agency has been suspended for six months for deploying untrained workers and falsifying records, the state Division of Consumer Affairs announced Monday.

The state Attorney General’s office gave the agency in question, Precious Hands, until Tuesday to transfer its clients to other home health companies, according to the announcement. Precious Hands owner Grace Njenga told NJ.com that she intends to appeal the ruling, saying she has corrected violations she was cited for in March.

Specifically, Precious Hands was cited for listing three registered nurses as the agency’s director of nursing since 2008 in order to meet state requirements. However, these nurses provided sworn statements that they had never been employed by Precious Hands, nor were aware of their names being used, according to the announcement.

Precious Hands was also cited for hiring 19 home health aides who hadn’t been certified by the state Board of Nursing, NJ.com reported. Citations indicate that the workers didn’t create care plans or conduct the required 30-day health care review and 60-day in-home visit.

“It is especially troubling that Precious Hands admitted that it did not employ a registered nurse or physician to supervise the employees, while representing to the division that it did,” said Steve Lee, acting director for the division. “Not only did Precious Hands’ actions violate rules designed to protect New Jersey consumers, these actions jeopardized the health and welfare of the very people the firm was hired to care for.”

But Njenga claims she hasn’t lost any clients as a result of the legal troubles, and that she has made staffing adjustments.

“Now I have a nurse, and she is consistent and seeing clients,” Njenga told NJ.com. “I am doing the right thing.”

Written by Kourtney Liepelt