by Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.

Some owners and managers of private duty home care agencies mistakenly think that fraud and abuse prohibitions apply only to services paid for by the Medicare Program. In fact, fraud and abuse prohibitions apply to providers if they accept any state or federal funds, including, but not limited to, Medicaid, Medicaid waiver, VA, and Tri-Care. Many private insurers have adopted the prohibitions on fraud implemented by state and federal programs.

Private duty home care agencies are increasingly in the crosshairs of fraud enforcers if they receive reimbursement from Medicaid and/or Medicaid Waiver Programs. The reason for enhanced scrutiny is that both the federal government, which partially funds state Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver Programs, and state governments that also fund these programs are alarmed about the high costs of them.

Conventional wisdom says that there are big bucks to be saved if fraud and abuse in the Programs are controlled and ultimately eliminated. Conventional wisdom also says that enforcement actions in Medicaid Programs have just scratched the surface. According to this “wisdom,” there are big bucks to be recouped from “low-hanging fruit!”

A recent report from the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seems to support this perception regarding private duty home care agencies based on the following:

  • Patient Fallen From Wheelchair AbuseBetween 2014 and 2023, at least 34% of fraud convictions in some years were based on private duty home care services. In some years, this percentage was as high as 48%.
  • In fiscal year 2023, there were 279 criminal convictions related to private duty home care services compared to 66 for registered nurses and 43 for home health agencies.
  • Recoveries from private duty home care agencies in 2023 totaled $26.4 million.
  • The amount of civil recoveries reached a 4-year high in 2023 and the combined criminal and civil recoveries were $1.2 billion, resulting in a return on investment of $3.35 for every $1 spent.

The return on investment of more than three times the amount spent is perhaps the most important figure of all. With a three to one return, regulators will not hesitate to “beef up” enforcement actions.


Personal care private duty agencies, don’t believe the myth that only services paid for by the Medicare Program are subject to fraud and abuse enforcement. The consequences may be devastating, including the loss of businesses. Heads up!

©2024 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.
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©2024 This article appeared in The Rowan Report. All rights reserved.