Adult day care services were a major part of the corruption allegations unveiled last week against Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, and the largely unregulated industry has recently gone through some explosive growth due to policy change by Governor Andrew Cuomo. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
One of the main federal allegations against Assemblyman Eric Stevenson of the Bronx is that he was doing the bidding of developers of an adult day care center, introducing a bill that would have helped create a monopoly for them.
Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman, who chairs the committee on aging, says she saw bills from both Stevenson and former Assemblyman Nelson Castro, who wore a wire for authorities.
"Generally, when you sponsor a bill, you want your colleagues to know about it. You want them to put their names on it, it shows more support. Stevenson never did that," Millman said. "And Castro had a bill which the committee looked at. I looked at it, the analysts looked at it, other people look committee looked at it, and we decided it wasn't something worth pursuing."
There are two types of adult day care, medical and social. The medical centers are regulated by the state Department Of Health but the social centers aren't. That is where there has been massive amount of growth, according to those familiar with the industry.
"Part of the growth, which is where the problems arise, is that there are some, shall we say, 'entrepreneurs' who have gotten into the field because they see it as a way of making a lot of money, sometimes not entirely honestly," said Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.
Last summer, the Cuomo administration began enrolling all Medicaid recipients in long-term managed care programs. Those companies, in turn, enroll them in adult day care services.
There is very little oversight of social day care, which consists of keeping seniors in a safe daytime environment and making sure they are fed and properly medicated. No license or certification is needed to open up a center, even though the programs are getting public money.
"Some of the adult day care models that we are beginning to hear about tend to only take people who are Medicaid eligible," Millman said.
Assembly members said they have serious concerns about state oversight of adult day care programs, like for example, who exactly is eligible to open one up. They say when they return to Albany next week they will be seeking a lot more information from the Cuomo administration and could possibly hold public hearings.