Measures designed to prevent fraud among California home health aides could leave people with disabilities to fend for themselves starting next week.

Under a budget compromise passed in California over the summer, all new home health aides must pass a criminal background check and undergo fingerprinting beginning next week. Currently employed home health aides will have until June 2010 to comply with the new requirements.

But county officials say they are not ready to implement the new rules and that could mean delays in service to individuals with disabilities and elderly residents who rely on in-home assistance.

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With 4,000 new applications for assistance every month, advocates say the unreasonable timetable for implementing the new rules is tantamount to cutting people from the $5.5-billion state program.

Now state legislators are meeting to address the problem and to consider delaying the start date for the new rules, reports the Los Angeles Times. To read more click here.