Investigation Launched into Richfield Home Health Care Agency

Updated: 02/19/2014 11:05 PM By: Beth McDonough

Paychecks are bouncing, workers are quitting and patients feel neglected because of a Richfield home health care agency's money problems.

The state is looking into problems affecting thousands of home health care employees and patients of Crystal Care Home Health in Richfield.

Crystal Care gets roughly half of its $20 million annual operating budget from the state.

Sally Knutson owns Crystal Care. She blames banking and cash flow issues for the paycheck problems. She says the company is taking steps to change its process.

The Minnesota Department of Health regulates the industry. The director questions how a Medicare-certified agency, one of only 200 in the state to get that recognition and federal taxpayer dollars that go with it, has money problems.

Knutson insists all of the employees will get any money owed to them. She says the agency drafted a new payroll plan and recently came across more funding from private investors.

However, payday this week is postponed. It's not on Wednesday as scheduled but will be staggered every 31 days until further notice. 

The Department of Labor oversees pay issues in Minnesota. Since 2010, six complaints have been filed against Crystal Care, with five of them related to payroll.

The Department of Health will work with Medicaid to open an official investigation.