IDHS announces plan to improve integrity of Home Services Program for People with Disabilities

5/22/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2014

CONTACT:

Januari Smith   (217) 558-1544

New timekeeping system will safeguard against fraud and ensure quality services for 30,000 of our most vulnerable

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois - Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler today announced a new timekeeping system for caregivers working under the state's Home Services Program (HSP). The new, electronic timekeeping system is designed to safeguard against fraud and ensure all services are delivered honestly and in compliance with the customer's plan of care.

"This state-of-the-art electronic timekeeping system will improve the accuracy and oversight of the program while improving the quality of care," Secretary Saddler said. "This new system provides our staff with the ability to document home care visits electronically and actively monitor home care services in both real time and retrospectively, ultimately holding individual providers accountable. This will be the most stringent timekeeping system in the program's history."

IDHS has contracted with Sandata Technologies, LLC to implement an electronic visit verification system for the nearly 30,000 Individual Providers (IP) currently working under HSP. The new, electronic 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. The soft launch of the system began on Jan. 1, 2014 and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of the year.

The new timekeeping system requires IPs to "call in" upon arrival to the customer home to start work and "call out" once their work is completed. IPs must "call in" using the customer's registered land line phone or the customer's registered cell phone.

The new timekeeping system also offers additional controls and ability to identify trends and patterns that may indicate fraudulent activities. HSP's Fraud Unit investigates allegations of fraud within the program. Investigations focus on customer and IP eligibility issues, benefits and services. The Fraud Unit coordinates investigations with collaborative partners such as HSP field offices, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Office of the Inspector General, Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and federal law enforcement agencies as applicable.

In addition, HSP customers and their IPs will undergo training on fraud, abuse and neglect. The department is also working with community stakeholders and the Illinois State Police in the development and implementation of a background check policy for all individuals providing services within the HSP program.

The HSP is designed to ensure that individuals with significant disabilities can live in their own homes and direct their own personal care. Individual providers provide various services to individuals with severe disabilities, such as household tasks and personal care, so they can remain in their homes and be as independent as possible. Individual providers are compensated by the state of Illinois but selected, employed and supervised by customers under the program.