WARREN - To keep Senior Levy dollars flowing in the short term to SCOPE of Trumbull County for its senior centers and services it provides, the agency must show guardians of levy funding it is complying with Ohio Department of Aging requirements.
To accomplish that, SCOPE must within the next two weeks provide a corrective action plan reporting that every SCOPE employee has undergone a criminal background check, plus it must hand over information regarding its finances before more funds will be released, according to the levy committee.
''I want to have for every employee that a check gets cut for, I want to see a background check for that employee,'' Diane Drawl, senior levy administrator, said.
Members of SCOPE's management group - assembled to help guide the agency through its troubles with the state - agreed to the terms Friday during a meeting with Drawl, county Commissioner Frank Fuda and other county officials.
''We're trying to work out whatever we can to make sure seniors have the services they have today,'' Fuda said.
The monitoring will continue through June, when all contracts funded through the senior levy expire.
''Everybody at the meeting agreed the services SCOPE provides are too valuable for seniors to lose,'' said SCOPE board member Michael O'Brien.
The ODA found last week that SCOPE did not do criminal background checks for 22 workers hired in direct care positions, did not in a timely manner have background checks done for 29 other workers or keep adequate background check logs.
ODA also found that SCOPE hired two workers with criminal convictions that could have disqualified them from employment without determining the likelihood that the person would commit another disqualifying offense and let an employee who was not a licensed registered or licensed practical nurse to give supervising services as a home care nurse.
SCOPE board members said they will appeal the findings by ODA.
The ODA findings caused talk earlier this week of possibly suspending funding from the levy for services provided by SCOPE.
Because of the contracts ending in June and of SCOPE's new reporting requirements, Drawl said the county felt comfortable releasing the rest of the money, about $60,000.
The year contract called for SCOPE to receive $632,725 in levy funding, with $457,525 to run the centers in Champion, Cortland, Lordstown, Warren, Howland and Niles. The rest is split between personal care, homemaker, chore and adult day care services.
The financial information is to make sure the agency is financially viable, Drawl said. Its budget has taken some hits recently.
The Area Agency on Aging 11, citing health and safety concerns, decided to not renew SCOPE's Title III contract worth about $38,000 at the end of the month. The contract provides homemaker care, supportive services, transportation, recreation and other services.
The ODA findings also caused the area agency to stop referring and later remove all of SCOPE's clients in the Medicaid-funded PASSPORT program. Referrals accounted for about $43,000 a month. PASSPORT provides services similar to Title III.
Board members also plan to appeal the area agency's decision on the Title III contract.