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State consolidation sparks complaints by caregivers

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Jan 30 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 31 2013 05:35:37 PM CST

It's been quite the fiasco for state caregivers recently.

CENTRE TWP., Pa. -

It's been quite the fiasco for state caregivers recently. As part of a consolidation effort by the Department of Public Welfare, 37 agencies that were responsible for paying caregivers no longer wear that hat. The change has left many caregivers without pay for weeks.

For many Pennsylvania disabled residents, the consolidation has been anything but a smooth transition for themselves, as well as their caregivers.

"It created a lot of stress for many of the people like myself that are participants of the program getting help," said Michael Evans, a disabled Pa. resident.

Evans was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when he was 30. Fifteen years later, Evans said he relies on his four state paid caregivers to look after him.

"I can't get up. I can't go to the bathroom. I can't get stuff cut of the fridge," said Evans.

For years, Evans said his caregivers would receive their checks through agencies such as United Disabilities and Liberty Resources. On January 1, the state Department of Public Welfare decided to consolidate 37 agencies that processed paychecks for 25,000 caregivers across the commonwealth to one provider, Public Partnerships LLC. Since then, Evans said his caregivers are not getting paid on time or they are getting shortchanged in some cases.

"Their paychecks are two, three weeks late and they get no answers as to when it will be there," said Evans.

"We are aware of the issues and we're working aggressively to address them," said Dina Baker, director of marketing and communications for Public Partnerships LLC, based in Boston.   

During the consolidation, Baker said the company received inaccurate data from many of the former agencies that handled home care payroll.

"The data did not match up to what was necessary in order to make them payable," said Baker.

At this time, Baker stated 90 percent of the time sheets submitted are being paid.

"We are actually, however, cutting and mailing paychecks every single day to catch people up," said Baker.

Public Partnerships LLC was experiencing problems with its phone lines, but the issue has been dramatically fixed, Baker said.

Public Partnerships LLC. told 69 News it's not sure when all of the problems will be resolved.

More information can be found on Public Partnerships LLC website.