Concerns Continue Over Employees of In-Home Health Care Program
Many individuals convicted of crimes such as rape, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse are allowed to care for some of the state's elderly and disabled residents as employees of the state In-Home Supportive Services program, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Details of Employees
State officials have released data showing that investigators identified about 210 employees and applicants for IHSS who were labeled as unsuitable for such work. However, those individuals were permitted to continue working or begin working for IHSS.
Thousands of IHSS workers have not been screened through background checks, the Times reports. In addition, investigators on the state and local levels have not reported workers whose backgrounds include violent crimes because the program allows felons to work as home care aides, according to a court ruling earlier this year.
Officials cannot block all IHSS employees who have been convicted of certain crimes, including:
- Child abuse;
- Elder abuse; or
- Defrauding public assistance programs.
An individual can be disqualified from employment only if they have a history of specific types of those crimes, the Times reports.
In addition, investigators are lawfully prohibited from informing enrollees in IHSS that their care assistant might have a background of violent or financial crimes.
By the Numbers
Since background checks were launched last year, investigators have found 996 convicted felons working for IHSS or seeking employment through the agency. Of those, 786 were declared ineligible for the program or were removed. The remainder areÂ believed to be employed in the program.
Law enforcement officials have cautioned lawmakers that the program may be putting enrollees at risk, but legislative efforts to address the problem have not garnered adequate support.
Assembly member Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) said the Schwarzenegger administration is interested only in cutting funds from IHSS or eliminating the program entirely.
The administration has said it is trying to remove the most dangerous felons from the program through legislation (Halper, Los Angeles Times, 9/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.