The California healthcare program, In Home Supportive Services is one of the fastest growing in the state's government, budgeted at $5.42 billion this year alone, and set to care for roughly 440,000 residents. However, the program--which was created to try to ease the burden on the state in terms of sending low-income and elderly patients to nursing homes--also is filled with fraud.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the limited oversight of the program is to blame. In one case, a family cheated In Home out of $77,000 over three years for care that was never actually administered. In another case, a husband and wife received $150,000 because the husband said he was disabled to the point where he couldn't get out of bed; he was later caught working up to 10 hours daily on his ice cream truck, and also was seen by surveillance crews pulling a washing machine across his driveway.
"This program is very easy to abuse," said Michael Ramsey, the district attorney in Butte County, CA. "It invites chicanery and fraud."
Supporters of the program, though feel that the fraud is only a drop in the bucket compared to how much good the program does, overall.
"Seeing as we seemed to have misplaced $50 billion in the rebuilding of Iraq, it's an amazingly low figure," Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said.
To learn more about this program:
- read this Los Angeles Times article