DPW Mismanagement Causes Home Care Workers Lose Paychecks - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

DPW Mismanagement Causes Home Care Workers Lose Paychecks

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Large-scale mismanagement by Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare caused to thousands of home health care workers to lose their paychecks.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a report on Thursday that detailed the situation. According to the report, 36 companies that formerly managed the paycheck distribution of these home care workers was consolidated to three companies. Recently, it was consolidated to one Boston-based company called Public Partnerships.

But DPW's mismanagement of the company that administers the federal medical assistance payments have caused delayed checks. And workers have not been paid at all.

"We have to fix it and we've got to get better at this, because we're not just talking about painting some line on a bridge," DePasquale said. "We're talking about caring for the most vulnerable in our society, which everyone agrees is a moral responsibility in the wealthiest country in the world."

The effects of DPW's mismanagement are felt statewide. Erie home care worker Jacqueline Jordan is one of them.

"Now I have at least seven payrolls that are due to me, and I'm waiting. We struggle for groceries and anything else that's needed," Jordan said. "Tell them to get it right. We need the money. I can't keep getting my utilities cut off," she said.

Without a reliable paycheck, 1,600 workers have been forced to find other work. And thousands of patients have had to seek more expensive options - costing the taxpayer an additional $7 million, according to DePasquale.

At least for now, Jordan plans to continue working with her employer, Charlotte Veneski.

"She's my employer, but she's also my friend. So that's why I've been sticking it," Jordan said. Jordan has known Veneski for almost thirty years.

DePasque has recommended for DPW to adopt a new payment system. Meanwhile, he has called for regular audits of Public Partnerships to ensure that home care workers get paid.

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