Most Direct Care Givers Paid, But Investigation Requested

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An update on a situation that left thousands of direct care workers in Pennsylvania, without paychecks for several weeks.

It's a problem blamed on the consolidation of payroll operations.

The State Department of Public Welfare reports 91 percent of its Direct Care workers are now up to date on their pay.

Meantime, three Democratic State Representatives from our area want a formal investigation into the paycheck delay as they note the state paid an $18,000,000 advance to Boston-based company to handle the program's payroll.

And according to a published report, the man overseeing the payroll transition will be leaving the Corbett Administration by the end of the month.

Secretary of Public Welfare Gary Alexander is said to be leaving after he has been the target criticism for thousands of the direct care workers working for six weeks without pay.
It's created problems for workers and the people they care for.

In Scranton, 51-year-old Paul Zabar has a big problem that goes beyond his physical disabilities.

Two workers had provided him help through a state program funded by medicare. The workers went a month without getting paid. Last week . They quit.

"There`s no food in the house, the kids need clothes, what have you.  But they`re not getting any kind of paycheck," said Zabar.

The problems began in December when, the State Department of Welfare promised to streamline payroll operations to save money.

It moved processing of payrolls by 37 different health care agencies to one, a professional payroll company, Public Partnerships limited of Boston.

During the transition, the state estimated up to 10,000 care workers went up to a month without paychecks as the payroll transition took longer than expected.

Even though the state now says nine in ten care workers have been finally paid, it doesn't have any numbers on how many of them quit.

Paul Zabar's says replacements have been tough to find.

"What do you say? I want you to work for me but I can`t pay you? You won`t get paid for x amount of time.  No one`s going to say, `Yes, I`ll take the job,'" said Zabar.

After the two direct care workers quit on Zabar, he depended on the good will of friends for care.

He also managed to hire a new caregiver .

When she didn't get paid by public partnerships in Boston, Zabar paid her with money from his disability check, and delayed refilling an important prescription.

Paul Zabar tells us his care workers are among the nine percent who still have not been paid.

In the meantime, a source in State Government says Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander's resignation won't be announced until later this week, as the Corbett Administration attempts to focus the public's attention on the budget he'll present to the public tomorrow.