In Your Corner: Workers Complain About Group Home Provider

By Ryan Elijah

July 23, 2010 Updated Jul 23, 2010 at 8:16 AM EDT

Local group home provider, Your Friends and Neighbors continues to operate, despite an ongoing effort by the state to take away it's license.
Shannon Miller is one of many victims impacted by the scandal that has left Your Friends and Neighbors reeling. The former Life Enhancement Coordinator had her job downsized in June and says she's owed nearly $1,000 in expense checks dating back to December.

"my unemployment benefits don't kick in until August and that money is owed to me and could help pay bills", said Shannon Miller.

In April, Former CEO Ernie Beal was found guilty of theft after taking money from clients funds to pay YFN's payroll. A payroll that included a reported $300,000 salary for both him and his wife. There were also many complaints about insurance premiums being taken out of checks, but not paid. Some workers say they're being sued after their medical bills weren't paid to the provider.

The state is currently moving forward with plans to take away the company's license. We talked to 3 employees, including Miller who say the state may not be getting the entire story.

"Medicaid reimburses for transportation, so they're receiving money from Medicaid for travel and expenses, if they're not paying, it's fraud.
If they say they're a financially stable company to the state, then they should be able to pay their bills", said Miller.

Indiana Family Social Services Administration (FSSA) has similar concerns, as of Thursday they are being prevented from placing residents with other providers by a stay from a judge, but they tell us
"The claims of people not getting paid would be investigated by the Medicaid Fraud unit that is run by the Federal Government. We have referred YFN to Medicaid Fraud for that reason"

On Thursday, we were told doors that would normally be unlocked at the facility were locked and only people with badges were being allowed in. Your Friends and Neighbors told us they would have no comment, before we even asked a question. Current CEO Justin Beal also did not respond to a written request asking about the claims we've received of unpaid expense reports.

Along with Shannon Miller we also spoke with Cindy Johnson and another co-worker. Johnson quit Wednesday after growing frustrated with unpaid expense checks of her own. Nearly 200 clients are caught in the middle and awaiting a decision on YFN's future.

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