Public Mediation

My Claim vs. Interim Healthcare, Inc.

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Healthcare at Home, LLC vs. Interim Healthcare, Inc.
1601 Sawgrass Corporate Pkwy Ste 200, Sunrise, Florida, 33323-2882, United States
    • Status: In Negotiation
      This claim has posted for public comment and negotiation. It will remain posted until resolved to the claimant's satisfaction. Suggest a resolution to help these parties reach a settlement.
      (seeking public comment)
    • Claimant Seeks: View.
    • Claim #: 4409879
    • Amount Involved: 6,000,000.00
    • Filed On: Jul 14, 2017
    • Posted On: Jul 25, 2017
    • Complaint(s):
      • Failure to disclose facts
      • Failure to honor promises
      • Contract / Agreement dispute
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Statement of Claim
Claimant says:
"The claim is on behalf of Healthcare at Home, LLC

I acquired an interest in the complaining company, Healthcare at Home, sometime in April 2017.

Prior to that, Healthcare at Home had a relationship with Interim Healthcare, Inc. in that Healthcare at Home was a franchisee of Interim.

On or around the end of March 2017, Interim terminated its franchise with Healthcare at Home. Ostensibly, the reason was non payment of franchise fees. However, as set forth below, Healthcare at Home did not owe any fees, notwithstanding the fee structure set forth in the Franchise Agreement setting forth the relationship.

The franchise agreement contained an 11 month non compete. It is logical to assume, however, that such arrangement would apply, if at all, in a case where there was an actual or, realistically, a potential competitive situation. This did not apply in the subject case. Upon termination, Healthcare at Home offered Interim to speak to all patients, to see if they wanted to go on service with Interim. However, Interim expressly rejected that offer. Further, Interim expressly stated that it had no issue with this no compete; however, they desired that we offer patients we had in south Pinal County to Devin Ringling, the owner of another Interim franchise. Interim had no legal basis to make this request/demand; however, Healthcare at Home did proceed and make the offer to Ringling. Ringling to not accept said offer.

Making this matter totally moot is the underlying agreement itself. Specifically, the agreement imposed a restriction on the “franchisee” or it owner. The sequence of events was that Interim terminated the franchise. Subsequently, the then owner, Steven Cohn, transferred all of his interest in Healthcare at Home. At that point in time, Healthcare at Home was certainly nobody’s franchisee. Further, Steven Cohn did not continue to engage in the home health business in the area being restricted, or in any other area. Thus, even if enforceable, and it is not, the no compete has no application given the current facts.

Interim solicited Healthcare at Home to become a franchisee. Its owner and managers had no prior healthcare experience. Interim stated that that should not be an issue, as they would provide the requisite technical expertise to guide the parties through the technicalities and maze of home health. Michael Bohannan, its franchise development person, stated that not only would Interim provide the expertise, but it would also develop a business and marketing plan with the company’s management. It was further represented that Interim would provide expertise and on site help concerning sales and marketing. Interim did appear to have the expertise by way of its personnel, although all of said people were based in Fla. They were to help with billing and collections. To would also vet, interview, and assess new key hires. They would further assist with their training. It was represented that the Interim team travelled a great deal and they were prepared to provide all necessary assistance. After all, that is how they earned their fees.

The statements and representations of Interim were hallow i.e. there was no truth in them whatsoever. During the course of the relationship, Interim did virtually nothing to assist the operation. In fact, the only time that it offered to send out its A-Team from Fla was to assist with closing down the business.

During the course of the relationship, Healthcare at Home paid a great deal by way of franchise and other fees. In a complaint filed against us, which was verified under penalty of perjury by the Interim CFO, Interim falsely implied that the company paid little if any fees. By the same tocken, Interim did nothing to deserve these fees. Further, they charged additional fees which were not paid. None of those were earned either. Notwithstanding that fact, the company would have tried to pay more than it did, but for the fact that the company ran into serious financial issues. Interim would suggest that this was the fault of the Healthcare at Home management. Perhaps true, as the ownership and management had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever in the subject business. That is why it was relying so heavily on the expertise of Interim, and the financial disaster that ensued was a direct and foreseeable result of Interim failing to provide any meaningful support whatsoever.

Examples: Interim was to provide sales and marketing support, both off site and on site. For this, they relied on a person named Patrick Frazier. Pat came to the site a total of one time. During that visit, he did nothing to assist with sales and marketing. Further, he never went on a sales call, as Interim promised on many occasions.

On various occasions we did ask for assistance. By way of one example, when we entered the business, we knew absolutely nothing about billing and collection. Because we were clearly doing a poor job and not collecting significant sums, we requested that Interim assist us. We received no assistance whatsoever. Finally, out of pure frustration and, in acknowledgement of our own lack of knowledge in this area, I researched outsourcing the billing. I found one company, and mentioned it in passing to Mary Hahn, the company’s regional representative. Later, I asked Mary for outsourcing resources, and she advised of the only company about which she knew anything. It was the company that I mentioned to her. That company had no home health billing expertise at all. It seems that other consultants in the business have the contacts; however, Interim offered none. At no time did we receive assistance on the billing and collection front, and this was a travesty, as billing and collection in home health is extremely specialized and the lack of that expertise cost us, literally, millions of dollars. We were told that our accounts receivable were too high and collections were too low. That could have been observed by a ten year old. , Interim also told us that this impacted our ability to pay obligations (in particular the franchise fees); however, no assistance at all was provided. ABSOLUTELY NONE. When we did start doing a significant amount of Medicare, Interim did not offer guidance or assistance. Rather, it simply recommended that we outsource the billing to Interim at an additional cost of 3% of revenue.

Interim faulted the way that files were maintained. However, at no time did they provide meaningful instruction or assistance.

There are a total of two people associated with Interim who provided us any assistance at all concerning any aspect of the business. Those were Denise Spiewick and Kelly Coursey. Kelly’s tenure in providing us assistance was extremely short – perhaps a couple of months. I think that Denise’s was even shorter. Further, while the above two provided assistance, it was limited. We received far more meaningful input from a third party consulting firm called Fazzi based on a 4 day visit than we received from 3+ years with Interim. At no time did Interim perform anything approaching the work that Fazzi did. Rather than taking the Fazzi study and trying to build from it, Interim belittled it. They questioned why we would need such a thing, as they, Interim, provided the same function. One of the things that Fazzi did during its visit was to review and make very specific and precise comments on our org chart. Interim never did anything like this. Of course, Interim would say such things as “your costs are too high” or “your GOP is too low”, but that was the extent of it. Toward the end of the relationship, Interim’’s CFO, Michael Slupecki, made similar statements. And, in that context, he did no analysis, but, nevertheless, continued to belittle the good work of the third party consultant i.e. Fazzi. He then stated something to the effect that yours was something of “a back of the envelope” assessment. That was the extent of their CFOs analysis i.e. a “back of the envelope” analysis.

Certain very complicated areas in our business relate to how Medicare reimburses on cases. This is a very complicated area within the healthcare industry. Interim provided absolutely no guidance. In fact, they barely made mention that this was a relevant subject matter. As we brought in third party consultants, necessitated by Interim’s total lack of performance, we learned a great deal about the above. We learned just how much was being left on the table by virtue of Interim’s lack of direction.

While not providing direction, Interim was always eager to criticize: our plans of care weren’t good; our sales were bad; our expenses were too high. However, as to the specifics, there were absolutely none.

Interim has brought a lawsuit both seeking a shut down of our business based on the no compete and for past and future fees, incurred and to be incurred. So, it wants to shut us down notwithstanding the fact that such is clearly unenforceable in the state where the operation is located i.e. Arizona. They are concerned about the impact on competition. However, Interim does not have a competing agency within the 100 mile theoretical radius. It seeks a permanent shut down even though the terms of the no compete are for 11 months. And it is ironic that it seeks such protection while at the same time, they have rejected our olive branch to transfer desirous patients directly to them, or, as they requested, to their preferred franchisee. Further, as it seeks a total shut down of the company, it seems quite disinterested in the over 100 patients being served as well as the many good people which Healthcare at Home employs. It would take a lot of time to transition the patients. Interim really does appear more interested in shutting down the business, as opposed to caring for the welfare of the patients. If Interim obtained its objective of shutdown, then more than 100 very sick people would simply be left without their necessary care. Further, Interim has affirmatively rejected the notion that they will do anything to care for these patients. The attitude about the employees seems downright callous.

And they seek their past fees. Sometimes they claim $75,000 and sometimes they claim $399,000. They are actually entitled to neither. Their confusion is that the company had to take a large write off. So, they are still trying to collect on money which is not their and has been written off.

Further, on the subject of fees, as the company fell behind in these ostensible obligations, Interim started to deny the company a number of the services which were to be made available to franchises. These included financial statement assistance and website management. Further, Interim advertised that its national meetings were an important part and benefit to franchisees; however, as fees accrued, Healthcare at Home was denied that opportunity.

Part of the service to be provided by Interim was to assist in walking through the legal maze associated with home healthcare. While we can get into detail, as Interim’s general counsel was asked a number of specific questions, he provided answers. We sought confirmation from outside counsel, and her answers were different. Lloyd, Interim’s attorney then advised that we would be best advised not taking his advice, as he is a franchise attorney, not a healthcare attorney. That is shocking, and had we followed his advice, it would have been wrong and costly. Further, there is a Medicare form called an 855. The company sought advice through Interim’s paralegal, Joy Taylor. Again, her advice proved to be entirely incorrect. Again, had we not changed course based on sound, outside advice, then the mistakes made by the Interim people would have cost Healthcare at Home greatly.

If this matter is not resolved short of the legal system, then we will most certainly sue for the amounts invested and allege fraud – both fraud in the inducement of the agreement and actual tortious fraud. Interim might be an excellent company in certain places in the country and as it relates to certain other organizations; however, as it concerned Phoenix, they were nothing short of abysmal. Further, I have reason to know that our business is not unique. Specifically, there are other Interim franchises which are suffering as we did. We will likely be pursuing obtaining a certifiable class in order to bring a class action against Interim.

As stated above, during our tenure with Interim, I have met certain Interim reps who I believe were competent. We benefited from none of them.

I will provide just one additional example of a matter we confronted. It relates to a time when were were looking for a director. We did rely on Interim to do the vetting fot us on the clinical side of things. We located a candidate by the name of Carol Thompson. Mary Hahn interviewed her. Mary reported back to us that she viewed Carol as, perhaps, the best director candidate she had interviewed in many years. Based on Mary’s assessment, we hired Carol. During Carol’s tenure, Mary visited on a couple to a few occasions. Mary did see some issues and wrote goals for Carol, tied to a timeframe. Mary did that in April 2014. Mary did no meaningful follow up thereafter. We didn’t have the competence to assess Carol’s progress, and Interim did not track it. Interim did not see Carol’s performance as going off the rails. Rather, I did. I reported my findings to Mary, and expressed that I viewed the issues as time critical. Mary advised that she would follow up. It took her around 8 weeks to make the 20 mile journey to our office. Obviously, during that time, further significant erosion occurred. All of the issues that I saw dealt with how matters were documented from a clinical perspective. I saw it. Interim did not. That really does not paint a good picture.

The substance of this document includes a limited number of the omissions, inactions, and breaches by Interim during the company’s time as a franchisee. These have been brought up to Interim’s CFO. Request was made for him to respond in a substantive fashion. However, Mr. Slupecki’s only response was to inquire as to “my standing” to make the inquires. He never made a semblance of an effort to actually respond. Finally, I do not mean to imply that Mary and Jeannie never provided valuable input. Such was really limited, but it did occur. For example, when our processes, billing and collections ran totally out of control, Mary did suggest that we stop taking referrals. However, neither she nor anyone at Interim ever offered to review and help rectify the underlying problems which led to the referral cessation in the first place. The reality is that Interim’s A Team lacks the competence to do a really deep dig and assist in a meaningfull way, except as to very superficial issues.

As the separation between Interim and Healthcare at Home was imminent, the Interim CFO advised that he was extending the relationship on a week to week basis while he reviewed documents provided by Healthcare at Home. However, during this time, one of Healthcare at Home’s employees noticed that we had been deleted from the Interim website. All that Mr. Slupecki could say was that, of course, he had terminated the franchise – in other words, directly in contradiction to his own written statements.

Interim does suggest that it wants to shut down the company’s operation because it (Interim) needs to protect trade secrets. To the extent that it has any, it never imparted any of them to Healthcare at Home.

Healthcare at Home spent over $6 million in reliance on Interim’s statements and promises. Healthcare at Home did this in good faith. For example, early on when it wanted to commission a business plan from an outside expert, Mr. Bohannan was quick to advise that we should not do that, as Interim needed to do that in order to earn its fees. We agree with Mr. Bohannan; however, Interim did not follow through and do this. The lack of a credible, competent business plan was a very expensive, and it was directly caused by Interim’s false statements and promises.

When examined, there will be no doubt but that Interim made false promises and did not earn most, or even a portion, of their fees. It will be further demonstrated that Healthcare at Home really did expend more than $6 million as stated above, on the assumptions that Interim was both competent and willing to follow through with its promises. However, they are not and they did not.

All of the statements made in this documents can be established and well supported.

Further, we implored Mr. Slupecki to investigate the assertions herein contained and get back to us. He did not.

Healthcare at Home remains in a financially precarious position. However, its operation has been put more on track during its few months of being free from Interim, than during almost 4 years of being an Interim. Again, Interim might be of benefit to some. We know that they are a detriment to many, including Healthcare at Home.
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What Claimant Wants Hide
1. Recovery of Losses: amount invested Jul 29, 2017 $6,000,000.00
2. Other – Copy claim to regulators Jul 29, 2017 $14.99
3. Other – Pay for claim posting cost Jul 29, 2017 $14.99
4. Other – Physical delivery charges Jul 29, 2017 $4.99
Cash total : $6,000,034.97
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Respondent's Counteroffer

There has been no response to this claim from Interim Healthcare, Inc.. This claim will remain posted until resolved
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