Michigan’s top health official is defending Gov. Rick Snyder amid claims his administration put in-home care patients in danger.
A new audit shows the state allowed convicted felons to work with vulnerable Medicaid patients. That includes people convicted of Medicaid fraud and violent crimes including assault and murder.
Some Democrats blame an administration decision that stopped requiring in-home care workers to join a union. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) provided background checks for those workers.
State Department of Community Health (DCH) Director Jim Haveman championed the state’s decision to end mandatory union membership. He says the SEIU background checks didn’t do much to protect patients, and the problems outlined in the audit predate the administration.
“I think the problem that the auditors pointed out happened under SEIU days and it happened under our days,” Haveman told reporters Wednesday.
He says his department and the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) are revamping the program to better protect patients and taxpayers.
“It’s not going to allow people who have been charged with murder, it’s not going to allow people who have been charged with Medicaid fraud – they’re not going to be permitted to be part of this program,” he said.
Haveman admitted DCH and DHS have not done enough to protect home care patients in recent years.