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Confusion Remains Over IHSS Anti-Fraud Law

Some California lawmakers are still scratching their heads over new state anti-fraud rules for in-home care services for the elderly and disabled. And counties say the new law that went into effect this week is causing service delays. The stakeholders met Thursday to discuss the changes.

Assemblymember Noreen Evans led the budget oversight committee hearing to try and clear up confusion over the new rules for the in-home care program. She authored a bill to push back the changes that now requires criminal background checks for all new providers. It passed the Assembly but died in the Senate this week. She said counties don’t have the final instructions to implement the law. And as a result she says services have been delayed for hundreds of people.

“There’s real pain, suffering, fear and even potential death as a consequence of this failure and we need to find a way to make this work or the state will be responsible for avoidable pain and suffering,” said Evans.

A representative from the California Department of Social Services, Patty Huston, said officials are working quickly to clarify the law.

“We’re here to implement this in the best possible way that we can, given the budget crisis we can’t delay indefinitely," said Houston. "We’re going to find ourselves in a worse situation come January.”

California’s Health and Human Services Agency estimates the anti-fraud measures will save about $130 million this fiscal year. Lawmakers and the governor agreed to the law to help balance the state’s multi-billion dollar shortfall this summer.

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