To say I was surprised is an understatement. I was amazed that several of this morning's callers admitted to taking money from California's In-Home Supportive Services program in exchange for doing little or no work. Others claimed they knew people who were approved to receive in-home care who didn't need it. Perhaps these were very isolated cases and not at all representative of the program. However, the admissions and allegations were eye-opening.
Supporters of in-home care claim that fraud is rare in the program. Unfortunately, data is hard to come by on either side. If there's not much fraud, how do you prove a negative? If there's widespread abuse, how do you quantify it?
Regardless, it's clear that many seniors and the disabled receive great benefit from the program. Proponents of it also argue that it the program saves the state tremendous amounts of money -- by keeping people out of nursing homes and by receiving half of program funding from the Feds.
However, the current issue is not whether in-home care is a good thing. It's whether the program has enough oversight to discourage fraud, and whether the Governor is justified in holding up the budget over his reform agenda on programs like this.
I'd appreciate your comments on this. We had a dynamite conversation this morning. I'd like it to continue online.