Audit: 3,800 Michigan home-health workers had felony convictions

3,786 home-healthcare providers who had a previous felony conviction on record. The audit also revealed that state social workers did not meet with those who required home-health care — or their families — to determine if proper care was being provided, and that the state had spent $160 million of Medicaid’s funds improperly between October 2010 and August 2013. Michigan currently has 70,000 home-healthcare aides, which means approximately 5% of them had previously been convicted of a felony. Those convictions include homicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, financial crimes and more. According to the audit report, the Department of Community Health and the Department of Human Services had been considering criminal background checks for several years without a plan being implemented. The excuse for not implementing criminal background checks is that it is fairly common for families to hire individuals for home-health needs instead of going through an agency to hire a reputable, screened employee. It is therefore possible that families know the history of the person they are hiring, especially if it is a relative or friend. In a memo that came out recently from the Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan was listed as a state that requires background checks for home-healthcare employees, though workers are allowed to perform their job duties for an indefinite period of time, so long as a background check is still pending. However, even if other background checks had been conducted, Michigan law does not require criminal background checks specifically. Auditors recommended that, even if not required by state law, home-health workers should undergo criminal background checks prior to being hired by agencies, individual providers and subcontractors. The director of the Department of Community Health, James Haveman, said that a new policy regarding background checks would be in place by the end of July to prevent future incidents. “It’s not going to allow people who have been charged with murder or Medicaid fraud,” Haveman said. “They’re not going to be permitted as part of this program. I’m confident that we’ve tightened up this program and it will be tighter moving ahead.”]]>

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