San Francisco, California ( — In an effort to tackle the growing fraud and abuse in nursing homes in the area, Los Angeles County officials have finalized plans to hire or reassign over 50 social workers and investigators to look into fraud among those who care for disabled or weak seniors.

In recent years, the California Department of Health Care Services has relaxed their supervision over the In-Home Supportive Services program causing more light to be shown on the cracks in their operations.

Urged by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, state lawmakers mandated that local authorities be better armed to locate and punish those who are taking advantage of the system.

California counties are now required to submit their strategy to fight IHSS abuse, and will also be expected to enforce policing duties by year’s end.

“We already have social workers who go to homes to determine eligibility,” said Philip Browning, director of the County Department of Public Social Services, administrator of the IHSS program. “But if we found something that we thought was suspicious, or out-and-out fraud, we couldn’t do anything except refer it to the state.”

L.A. County has a budget of $9.5 million for the anti-fraud effort, with most of the funds derived from the state and federal government. The county will also put together a task force to not only verify suspicious claims and review new claims, it will also work to encourage interagency cooperation between the District Attorney’s Office and other county programs which includes welfare, food stamps and Section 8 housing.

This news brought to you by San Francisco, California nursing home abuse law firm of Mary Alexander & Associates.