Auditor finds payroll mismanagement caused home-care workers problems
HARRISBURG — The Department of Public Welfare mismanaged off-site payroll providers for home-care workers, causing service disruptions for disabled people and millions of dollars in unnecessary costs, the state auditor general said on Thursday.
A switch from 36 payroll companies to a single-payer contract last year delayed pay for caregivers for months, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said.
An estimated 20,000 adults and children with disabilities receive state-subsidized assistance to remain in their homes rather than long-term care facilities.
“Problems with the transition caused so much fear and confusion that at least 1,500 people receiving home-care services switched to a more expensive model of care that is unnecessarily costing at least $7 million per year,” DePasquale said.
Kathleen Kleinmann, director of Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living in Washington County, one of the payroll providers who were replaced, said she foresaw problems and tried to warn state officials.
“Nobody listened. It was ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.' I thought it was a lot of people in Harrisburg who had no idea what they were doing,” Kleinmann said after DePasquale's news conference. “I knew what the consequences would be.”
Auditors found a lack of adequate monitoring of payroll providers dating to 2009, during former Gov. Ed Rendell's administration. It was unclear why the state initially used 36 companies for financial management services.
Last year, the state hired Public Partnerships LLC to provide statewide payroll services, giving the Boston-based firm an $18 million advance. The contract was written to eliminate other potential vendors, the audit said, though DePasquale found nothing untoward in the contract award.
He made no allegations of wrongdoing or illegality by the firm or Welfare officials, though the audit found the department ignored many “red flags” that indicated the company was not prepared for the startup under an agency-imposed deadline.
Welfare Secretary Bev Mackareth, who took office this year, apologized for hardships to caregivers, participants and their families. Oversight and better management of the PPL contract has improved payroll services, she said.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: Sting making history fighting for WWE title
- No certainty for Pirates’ call-up veterans
- RB Williams believes he’s making seamless transition to Steelers
- Rossi: Continuing legend of Pirate Ray
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Injured DT Render missing from Pitt depth chart
- Vintage drive-in theaters’ prices, upgrades still draw in Western Pa.
- Derry Township man killed when ATV flips
- White lion Prince dies at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
- Steelworkers scoff at ATI earnings claim
- Pitt basketball team starting to get injured players back