Pa. lawmakers determined to end waste in welfare programs

    Pennsylvania lawmakers are looking to ferret out wasteful practices in programs for those with intellectual disabilities.

    Republican Sen. Patricia Vance of Cumberland County said the state Department of Public Welfare needs more regulations governing its programs for the developmentally disabled.

    She said private care providers are being reimbursed for services that she questions are necessary—such as single-person homes for clients.

    Sen. Mary Jo White, a Republican of Butler County, shares those concerns.

    “I have problems with moving an individual into a single-person group home and calling it a group home and saying they’re integrated into the community, when in fact, a person goes with them, full-time, to their job every day and stands there and I assume, watches them work,” White said. “I don’t really see that as real integration.”

    An administrator of human services on the county level suggests the state needs more information about the growth in services, as the number of clients has remained about the same.

    Vance said the public welfare department should provide more information, because a recent audit made it difficult to figure out which care providers are being wasteful.

    A recent hearing included testimony that service providers were getting reimbursed by the state for questionable purchases.

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