BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Attorney General (AG) Andrea Joy Campbell is reminding temporary nursing agencies about the permissible rates that may be charged to long-term care facilities.

The AG’s office has received multiple complaints that some temporary nurse staffing agencies have attempted to overcharge, demand additional fees, or enter misleading arrangements with long-term care facilities. All rates charged by temporary nursing agencies must be consistent with Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) rules and regulations.

Complaints include:

  • Offering to contract with long-term care facilities for temporary nursing services at rates in excess of the maximum rate; 
  • Claiming that the maximum rates have been suspended due to COVID-19 when they have not; 
  • Requesting holiday pay for services rendered on dates that are not listed as agreed-to holidays in contracts between the temporary nursing agency and long-term care facility; 
  • Attempting to improperly classify employees as travel nurses or fixed-term employees; 
  • Demanding an additional fee for a temporary nursing agency employee to pick up a shift, often shortly before a shift begins, which is commonly referred to as a “pickup bonus”; 
  • Requesting an additional fee or higher rate for scheduling a temporary nursing agency employee to a shift within 48 hours of the start of the shift; 
  • Offering long-term care facilities an opportunity to “boost” the rate to be paid to a temporary nursing agency employee, often shortly before a shift begins; 
  • Proposing rates in excess of the maximum rate during inclement weather; 
  • Proposing rates in excess of the maximum rate based on the number of current cases of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities; and 
  • Providing bonuses to temporary nursing employees and charging long-term care facilities for those bonuses, resulting in long-term care facilities paying the temporary nursing agency above the maximum rate. 

“Affordability continues to be a major challenge for Massachusetts residents and their loved ones seeking long-term care, which is why temporary nurse staffing agencies need to adhere to state regulations,” said AG Campbell. “Today’s advisory serves as a resource to these agencies and a reminder that my office stands ready to act if temporary nursing agencies attempt to overcharge or mislead long-term care facilities in the Commonwealth.”

Concerns or complaints regarding temporary nurse staffing at Massachusetts long-term care facilities can be made to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at 617-963-2360, or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification at 617-753-8150.