Northampton care company overcharged 100-year-old man with dementia for shortened visits

John Lillyman
John Lillyman

Carers routinely cut short visits to an elderly Northampton man but charged him in full, his friend has discovered

John Lillyman receives care visits three times (morning, lunch and evening) a day from Concept Care Solutions but on occasions, carers were claiming to have spent less time in his company than suggested on the invoices later sent to him.

As a result of the overcharging, an official complaint was filed by Mr Lillyman's friend and power of attorney who said they "want every penny they overcharged to be paid back" after Concept Care admitted the errors.

Two emails seen by the Chron showed a manager apologising to the friend for carers not staying for the agreed time, and confirming their removal from John's rota.

"I have sent a message informing ALL staff that if this issue repeats itself, I will have to deduct the money from each and every one of them," read the first email dated August 9.

"If you want the company to refund the discrepancy, please let me know and this will be deducted from ALL staff that visited JL within that period."

The second email dated August 15 said: "From now on I will be monitoring incidents of such and will act accordingly with any staff who fails to stay regards to not staying til agreed care time. [The carers] will not come to JL again as agreed."

The discrepancies came to light when the log book which employees sign in and out of were cross-referenced with the care company invoices sent to their client.

On November 1, no evening visit was logged in the book yet an invoice had charged for a 45-minute evening visit.

Three days later a 25-minute visit was recorded yet the invoice charged for a 30-minute visit between at a different time.

And the evening visit on November 4 was logged from 18:45-19:10 but the invoice charged for a 45-minute stay between 19:15-20:00.

The company's guidelines state minimum required times for carers depending on the length of the appointments.

A '15-minute visit' should see carers stay for a minimum of eight minutes, '30-minute visits' require a minimum of 21 minutes, the minimum for a '45-minute' visit is 36 minutes, and an hour-long visit requires carers to stay for a minimum of '51 minutes'.

Concept Care Solutions in Northampton are rated 'good' overall by the Care Quality Commission in June 2016.

A Concept Care Solutions email dated to August agree to refund discrepancies of 1hr 40mins which occurred over a three-week period, but this has yet to be done according to the complainant, who also said no other refunds have been paid.

The company was reported to Northamptonshire County Council as Mr Lillyman receives some help with the fees.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We are aware of the concerns that have been raised and staff in the NCC Quality Team are investigating the issues as well as ensuring customer safety and welfare.”

Concept Care Solutions have been approached for comment and have said they will contact their finance department to investigate.