A state program that provides services for elderly or disabled people may have shelled out more than $11 million in payments for the care of people who were actually dead, California Controller John Chiang said.
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, Chiang said.
The controller said that in Sacramento County, $744,922 in questionable payments were made in 2008 for recipients whose names and Social Security numbers were listed in the Social Security Administration Death Master File or the California Department of Public Health's Vital Statistics Death File.
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.
Chiang shared his concerns Monday in a letter sent to John Wagner, head of CDSS.
Provider timesheets are processed by each county and sent to the CDSS, which submits the claims for payment to the controller's office daily. 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.