State Representatives Call for Probe into Caregivers’ Payroll Failure

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BENTON -- An Action 16 Investigation into the taxpayer-funded Attendant Care program has some new developments.

A bi-partisan group of 13 Pennsylvania State Representatives are now demanding a full investigation as to how so many low-wage caregivers continue to have to work without pay.

Carrie Cohan of Benton is working her seventh week without pay.
She provides care for a disabled Columbia County man.

"My phone was shut off.  I had to borrow money to put my phone put back on," said Cohan.  "We have two little girls who live with us. Since school`s going to start they needed school clothes, we had to borrow money for that."

Dave Gubber of Avis, worked in Clinton County for five weeks without pay. His check was a dollar an hour short, and he`s gone another three weeks providing uncompensated care.

"Governor Corbett should be hanging his head in shame for what's going on," said Gubber.  "I mean, it's just wrong."

"We have people, literally working 24 hours a day in shifts, trying to get this out," counters Governor Tom Corbett, who talked with Newswatch 16 during a stop in a kayaking trip to promote tourism.

Despite the criticism, the Governor says his administration takes it seriously.

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare says Pittsburgh-based Christian Financial Management did not get all the necessary payroll information from other providers when it took over the government program's payroll July first.

"We know that the (caregivers) will get paid and we`re just going to continue to work as hard as we`re presently working," said the Governor.  When asked when the caregivers who make between nine and 10 dollars per hour will get paid, Governor Corbett responded, "I can`t tell you that right now."

In a letter to Gary Alexander, the Director of the State Department of Public Welfare, the 13 State Representatives calling for an investigation said the failure to pay caregivers, quote, "Irresponsible on many levels," adding, "What was once a well run, smoothly operating system of home and community based services is now chaotic and disorganized."

Among the 13 State Representatives calling for the investigation:  Representative Michael Hanna of Clinton County, Representative Matt Baker of Bradford County, and Representative Fred Keller of Union County.