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City Officials Propose Crackdown On Unregulated Medicaid-Funded Senior Centers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Elected officials have spoken out against the prevalence of so-called "pop-up" adult daycare center facilities.

As WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported, Gov. Cuomo's attempt to rein in Medicaid spending allowed private operators to open adult daycare centers. Since then, the number of the Medicaid-funded centers in New York City has exploded.

At a news conference on the Upper East Side on Thursday, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said operators of the centers have lured healthy seniors with cash bribes to game the system.

City Officials Propose Crackdown On Unregulated Medicaid-Funded Senior Centers

"Threatening the well-being of our seniors while draining Medicaid resources from legitimate programs for older adults. So they're threatening them in the centers they're running and they're threatening them in a longer sense by threatening the viability of good programs out there," Quinn told reporters including Diamond.

State Sen. Diane Savino, who represents Brooklyn, said the centers are largely unregulated.

"The unintended consequence of that lack of oversight has led to this proliferation of shady operators. And we saw it happen almost overnight," Savino said.

The pop-up centers have siphoned healthy clients from regular senior centers, passing them off as frail elderly and getting huge Medicaid reimbursements, Savino said.

Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo said there are a number of the pop-up centers in her Bronx district.

"And you know that bingo and dominoes is not on the list, we know we have a problem. We have a serious problem," she said.

Quinn and Councilwoman Jessica Lappin have introduced a bill that they said would increase oversight and regulations with stiff fines for violators.

"They should consider themselves clearly warned that things are going to change," Quinn said.

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