Questions Raised Over Effects of New Anti-Fraud Rules for IHSS
Sacramento County officials say Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) administration might be overstating the number of ineligible caregivers uncovered through new anti-fraud screening efforts for the In-Home Supportive Services program, Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
Last year, the governor persuaded the Legislature to allocate about $36 million to establish new anti-fraud screenings, fingerprinting requirements and county-led investigations for the IHSS program.
Difference in Numbers
According to the Schwarzenegger administration, the new screening requirements helped identify 531 IHSS caregivers who are ineligible to work in the program, primarily because of certain prior criminal convictions.
However, out of the 57 IHSS workers deemed ineligible in Sacramento County, county officials say only 10 were rooted out because of the new fingerprinting requirements. According to officials, the 47 other ineligible workers were exposed by the Sacramento County district attorney's office, which identified them as having prior convictions for IHSS fraud.
Rick Simonson, Sacramento County's IHSS public authority, said the county district attorney's office has uncovered numerous IHSS providers with specific criminal convictions. He added that the governor's estimates and other official figures might overstate the actual prevalence of IHSS fraud.
Lizelda Lopez, spokesperson for the Department of Social Services, said the new fingerprinting requirements had successfully identified IHSS providers with criminal convictions in other counties.
Rachel Arrezola, spokesperson for Schwarzenegger, said the initial results of the screenings demonstrate "that the reforms that were put in place are doing their job" (Ferriss, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 7/15).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.