Does lack of HHS controls contribute to personal-care abuse of the elderly and disabled?

There’s a decent chance that sooner or later, you or a loved one will need a personal-care attendant.

I’ve already been there, having to arrange personal in-home care for my mother before she died. Fortunately, most of the attendants we hired were good. That’s not the case with the miscreants described in a report released Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG).

HHS comes off as an enabler. Some attendants were fraudulently paid while neglecting suffering patients as the department failed to implement years-old recommendations to correct the scandal, according to the OIG.

“Significant vulnerabilities,” the OIG said, “including a lack of internal controls” continue to plague the program.

Building on the OIG’s 2012 study, investigators found “significant and persistent compliance, payment, and fraud vulnerabilities” with the personal-care services (PCS) program. It was a $12.7 billion operation in 2011. In many cases, the attendants work for personal-care agencies that bill Medicaid for their services. States operate their own Medicaid programs under federal guidelines.

– The Washington Post

Read the full article here.