(WJLA) - Francine Triplett, who has to have oxygen at all times, was among the dozens who came to a news conference at the Press Club on Thursday.
The Oruh family owns a home health care agency called Ultra, and is denouncing the D.C. government for cutting off Medicaid payments to them -- approximately $400,000 a week’s worth, to be exact.
"What we represent is a population of immigrant Africans that want to get into an industry that they do not want to let us in," said Chioma Oruh.
Last week, the U.S. Attorney announced raids that included Ultra’s officer for Medicaid fraud and more than 20 arrests. But no one at Ultra was arrested, so the family is now asking why their workers here are being punished – including Triplett’s aide.
"When this type of situation takes places, it's not everybody that's involved -- some people ae innocent," says health care aide Gloria Eneng.
These workers received their last checks on Valentine’s Day, but the city still isn’t apologizing, saying no one was arrested. But because Ultra is suspected of fraud, under federal law, mere suspicion means they’re cut off until they are cleared. So pay is on hold due to the FBI’s probe.
And it’s not just Ultra. Of the city’s 30 home health care agencies, 18 are suspected. And of D.C.’s 10,000 home care patients, the suspected company has cared for 8,200 of them.
Health finance director Wayne Turnage said the city will have cut payments to all 18 in the next 30 days and that “we’re going to have to work 24/7 to replace them.”
Meanwhile, Ultra told workers it will fight:
"Don't let them make liars out of you, don't let them make liars out of us!"