I See Dead People

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    In the wake of news that a state program that provides services for elderly or disabled people has shelled out more than $11 million to take care of people who are, in fact, dead, comes a new report that the county may have made $539,000 in similar payments.

    The state's In-Home Supportive Services program provides housecleaning, meal preparation, shopping and personal care for elderly and disabled people so they can stay in their homes and out of expensive nursing homes or board-and-care facilities. But due to lax state and county oversight, the program sent payments to service providers and individual recipients even after the recipients had died, California Controller John Chiang said earlier this week.

    Chiang's allegation specific to San Diego was reported by KPBS.org and is being disputed by local IHSS manager Pam Smith, reports KPBS.org.

    "We are not aware of any case in this period of time where we have continued to pay a provider after the client had passed away," Smith told KPBS.org.

    The IHSS program is administered by the California Department of Social Services.

    "This report questions the actions taken by the California Department of Social Services and individual counties to ensure IHSS payments are properly validated and monitored," Chiang said in a prepared statement earlier this week.

    Chiang shared his concerns Monday in a letter sent to John Wagner, head of CDSS.

    Provider time sheets are processed by each county and sent to the CDSS, which submits the claims for payment to the controller's office on a daily basis. The controller's office pays the claims, but then performs post-payment validation procedures that include running the names of providers and recipients through death files. Inconsistencies are then reported to the CDSS, which forwards the information to each county for verification. Individual counties are responsible for following up on any questionable payments and recouping dollars spent inappropriately.

    During the 2008 calendar year, the controller's office disbursed approximately $3.67 billion to providers across the state who provided services to IHSS-eligible recipients.

    CDSS did not immediately provide a response.

     

    KCRA.com contributed to this report.