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Report Number: 2016-128

In-Home Supportive Services
The State Could Do More to Help Providers Avoid Future Payment Delays

March 16, 2017 2016-128

The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, California 95814

Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:

As requested by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, the California State Auditor presents this audit report concerning the timesheet and payment systems for In‑Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers. The IHSS employs more than 460,000 individuals, known as providers, to perform ongoing services for eligible IHSS recipients so they may remain in their homes as an alternative to receiving out‑of‑home care. These caregivers deliver in‑home services to nearly 580,000 eligible individuals—low‑income people who are also aged, blind or disabled. The California Department of Social Services (Social Services) coordinates the program at the state level, and each county administers the program for recipients and providers within its jurisdiction. Social Services contracts with the Office of Systems Integration (OSI) to serve as the project manager for the Case Management, Information and Payrolling System (CMIPS II), which is a web-based system that processes timesheets and calculates payments for IHSS providers, among other tasks.

This report concludes that Social Services has not provided adequate direction or the appropriate tools for counties to effectively monitor and resolve provider timesheet exceptions, such as timesheets missing signatures or containing unreadable entries. Although CMIPS II forwards timesheets with exceptions to the counties, Social Services does not require counties to initially review and attempt to fix exceptions and instead allows them the option to use a less‑efficient method of directing providers to resolve their own exceptions by submitting replacement timesheets. Delays in receiving payments can result in providers being forced to seek other employment to meet their financial needs and not being able to continue serving IHSS recipients, thereby precluding eligible individuals from remaining in their homes and avoiding placement in out‑of‑home care. This report also concludes that CMIPS II does not report on timesheet exceptions at a level of detail that would allow counties to identify providers with regular timesheet problems or delays, which limits each county’s ability to target support efforts to ensure that subsequent timesheets are submitted accurately and paychecks are issued promptly. Further, Social Services and OSI have not monitored the timeliness of timesheet processing by the State’s CMIPS II contractor because neither entity has been enforcing key contract provisions for providing data on processing times.

Finally, the recent implementation of federal overtime requirements resulted in the IHSS program adopting conflicting time-reporting protocols. Although recent changes in state law limit the number of hours a provider can work in a workweek, the program’s use of semimonthly pay periods presents challenges to providers in calculating limits during weeks that cross over between pay periods. This lack of symmetry has resulted in some providers inadvertently exceeding their limits for hours and being suspended from the IHSS program. Accordingly, we recommend that the Legislature amend state law to redefine the pay period to align with the workweek requirements.

Respectfully submitted,

State Auditor

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