Workers Claim Non-Payment After Agency Closes its Doors

More than a dozen workers tell the Team 6 Investigators they didn’t get paid for their work.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bertha Padilla says she didn’t get paid for her services, saying that the home healthcare agency that she worked for in Opa-locka suddenly closed its doors. Team 6 Investigators' Myriam Masihy looks into the issue. (Published Saturday, Jan 19, 2013)

    Bertha Padilla loves her job. She gets to take care of Winona, a disabled woman who she lovingly refers to as “Cookie.”

    But last October Padilla says she didn’t get paid for her services because Rosaida Healthcare, the home healthcare agency that she worked for in Opa-locka, suddenly closed its doors, owing her 18-hundred dollars.

    More than a dozen other workers tell the Team 6 Investigators they didn’t get paid for October either. Amounts ranging from 800 to 2600 dollars per person.

    Winona’s sister, Sarah Collie says she doesn’t understand what happened because, according to her, Medicaid did pay Rosaida Healthcare.

    She says, “There’s a statement that comes out every month that lets me know that the agency has been paid and they were paid so I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t paid.”

    The Team 6 Investigators contacted The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration; known as AHCA and discovered an audit claiming Rosaida Healthcare overbilled the state for services not covered by Medicaid.

    AHCA says they overpaid the company more than 348-thousand dollars between December 2008 and December 2010.

    In a letter sent July of last year, the state demanded the money back and tacked on a fine of about 69-thousand dollars.

    In April the IRS also demanded over 32-thousand dollars in unpaid taxes and while Uncle Sam got a check by November, AHCA is still waiting for their money back.

    NBC6 tried numerous times to reach Rosaida Healthcare’s owner but never got a response.

    Our Team 6 Investigators finally caught up with Ida Espinosa outside a group home for disabled individuals that she operates in Hialeah but she refused to answer our questions about the workers’ claims of non-payment.

    The workers say she hasn’t called them back either and since the agency has closed they don’t know what to do.

    Will Garnitz, the Miami District Director for the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department, says just because a company closes doesn’t mean it’s not responsible for paying its employees.

    Garnitz says “if it’s a single establishment, it’s a dead issue” but he adds that “if it’s one branch or establishment within a multi-branch enterprise” they can intervene.

    According to the Labor Department, different companies that share a common ownership and business purpose could be considered an enterprise.

    Winona’s sister says she’s grateful to Rosaida Healthcare for connecting her to Bertha, adding that they were a good agency until they closed.

    “I’m hoping they can get back on the right track if it’s possible and most importantly I’m hoping that Bertha can be paid because she worked she’s excellent and we love her,” she says.

    As for Ida Espinosa, she referred us to her attorney but he never returned our call. If you feel you are owed wages, you can contact the Department of Labor at 305-598-6607.