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Illinois Consumer-Directed Program Requires New Training for Spotting Fraud

June 12, 2014

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) announced the use of a new electronic timekeeping system for Medicaid-funded home care services, including independent providers providing services and supports through the state’s Home Services Program (HSP), a consumer-directed care program serving 30,000 people with disabilities.

The new timekeeping system is designed to “reduce erroneous billings, help safeguard against fraud, improve program oversight, and ensure the delivery of services to customers in their home,” an IDHS May 22 press release says.

Independent providers will be required to “call in” and “call out” from their client’s home upon arrival and completion of work, using their client’s home or cell phone.

The system is expected to be “fully implemented by the end of the year,” following the soft launch that commenced in early 2014, the release says.

“This will be the most stringent timekeeping system in the program’s history,” says IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler.

Additionally, consumers who are new to the HSP program will be individually trained on how to recognize and avoid fraud, abuse, and neglect.

This consumer training is part of a larger curriculum in which they will be trained in managing their relationship with their independent provider, including how to recruit, interview, and hire workers, states a May 28 press release issued by Access Living.

The Centers for Independent Living located throughout Illinois will be responsible for conducting the training. The Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living is coordinating the training, which rolled out in late May.

Shortly after the announcements about the electronic timekeeping system for independent providers in the HSP program and the training for consumers new to the HSP, Stephen Wigginton, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that 14 independent providers in the HSP were indicted for fraud.

Known as “Operation Home Alone 3,” this is the third round of indictments brought against independent providers in HSP over two years. A total of 43 workers have been charged.

“The purpose of the program is laudable — keep Medicaid recipients in their home and out of more costly institutional settings,” Wigginton states in the announcement. “These prosecutions show that there are individuals who, by their actions, take money from the thousands of deserving customers and harm the reputation of those personal assistants who are doing everything right.”

— by Deane Beebe

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