DENVER — For some healthcare workers, burnout has less to do with the coronavirus pandemic and more to do with compensation.
Jogan Health Solutions, a medical and health consulting provider, hired hundreds of traveling nurses from across the country to help several states vaccinate their residents, including Colorado. The state has paid Jogan Health Solutions $45 million for its services since March 2021, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Despite the multi-million dollar contract, Lyndi Lindsey, a former Jogan Health Solutions employee who handled some of the company's payroll duties, claims, "a lot of people aren't getting paid."
"Multiple people have left and went home because they still haven't gotten paid," she said. "There was one guy, in particular, who didn't get paid for three months."
Traveling nurses aren't the only employees experiencing late, wrong or no pay at all. Chelsey Massey, a former driver for the company, says she became desperate for cash at one point last year.
"I was borrowing from friends and relatives just to survive and get by," she said. "I begged for the money that I did get."
A pattern would become obvious to Lindsey following dozens of emails from nurses and various staff.
"The pattern is they're very disorganized," she said. "We have asked them countless times to get an electronic system going, and they just wanted to do it by hand."
In fact, that's what former Jogan payroll employee Heidi Al-Sahsah recommended to the company when she was hired in January.
"When I got hired, I was told they needed somebody to come in and fix payroll ... their system comes equipped with a time clock that they're just not utilizing ... they can download the app onto their phone, [employees can] clock in and clock out from their phones," she said.
But, when she suggested the plan to the company, Al-Sahsah says the company's response was, "yeah ... thanks, but no thanks."
Al-Sahsah says she knew what was coming and quit just seven days after being hired.
"We had over 100 emails of people who didn't get paid appropriately," she said.
Denver7 has obtained emails that were sent to the management team at Jogan Health Solutions over the past several months. The emails showed employees inquiring about why they weren't paid, and if they were, why the payment was wrong or why it was late.
Denver7 also obtained several employee contracts, which state living expenses, including food, lodging and gas, would be paid for by the company. However, according to Talia Mair, a former Jogan Health Solutions project manager who oversaw all employees in Jefferson County, that would become an issue too.
"They started trying to take away things that they promised us in our contracts," Mair said. "I had some nurses who are putting their personal credit card information on file, at least to hotels ... they would become in debt because Jogan's credit cards were declining, or they were refusing to pay."
In an email sent in November to a concerned employee by Dan Dietrich, founder and president of Jogan Health Solutions, Dietrich admitted that paying for employee expenses was a problem.
In the email, Dietrich told the employee in part, "As time goes on, our contract terms with our state customers change ... Currently, there is no mileage reimbursement from the state unless the clinic-related trip exceeds 50 miles. There is currently no hotel reimbursement and no per diem reimbursement. I am paying these personally with no way to bill or recoup this."
"Jogan couldn't get it right," said Mair.
Denver7 first exposed the payroll issues back in December. Since then, multiple nurses and various employees have come forward with their own stories of payroll issues at the company. Several claimed they are owed thousands of dollars.
Adding insult to injury, Dietrich put the blame on the nurses, saying in part, "99% of the time, it's because they didn't complete their stuff in the HR system ... people don't turn their time-sheets in, and they don't turn them incorrectly, and they don't turn them in on time."
But, Lindsey, among other former employees who had payroll duties said otherwise.
"That's baloney," Lindsey said. "Everything was done correctly before I put them in a folder and sent them off."
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) says the responsibility must be turned back on companies like Jogan Health Solutions.
"Workers have to be paid on regular pay periods, and they have to be paid no later than 10 days after the close of the pay period under Section 103 of The Wage Act," said Scott Moss, director of the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics at the CDLE.
Whether it's missing documentation or timesheets allegedly not being turned in, companies still have the burden of paying what is due, according to the CDLE.
"If there's an employer that [is] systematically not paying pay for much longer than 10 days after pay periods close for a large number of employees over time, that doesn't seem like it would be an idiosyncratic glitch in a system or employees' information being mishandled," Moss said.
The department confirmed it has received a tip regarding wage issues at Jogan Health Solutions, but when a formal complaint isn't submitted, their investigations are prioritized for industries with vulnerable employees "whether that's low wage, or lower education or lower linguistic ability," Moss said. "It's impossible to investigate everything."
Moss urges any employee in Colorado to file a complaint at coloradolaborlaw.gov, if they believe they aren't getting paid correctly or wages owed.
Denver7 reached out to Dietrich, who agreed to an interview then stopped taking Denver7's phone calls. Instead, he issued a statement, saying in part, "We are aware that there have been some recent payroll challenges for employees at our vaccination sites. We are looking into how exactly these mistakes were made while ensuring that all employees have been paid for hours worked and expenses accrued."
It's an acknowledgment that came too late for Mair, who quit in November.
"I left for moral and ethical reasons," she said.
Lindsey followed suit in December.
"I was tired of feeling like I was put in the position to be a bad guy ... I couldn't face the nurses with a good heart knowing everything that I knew," she said.
A $2 million lawsuit has been filed against Jogan Health Solutions out of Douglas County by a company named Safety Management Systems, LLC. They allege that Jogan Health Solutions breached their contract by hiring away some of their employees.