State plans background checks on home help aides

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's top public health official says the state will do criminal background checks on workers who care for disabled Medicaid recipients in their homes after an audit flagged about 3,800 workers with felony convictions.

Department of Community Health Director James Haveman says people convicted of murder, sex offenses and Medicaid fraud shouldn't be home health aides even if hired by a family member.

Haveman told reporters Wednesday the agency made a mistake in not conducting the checks. He says it's reviewing whether felons should be disqualified for lesser offenses.

Haveman says Medicaid recipients who need help with bathing and other activities sometimes hire relatives knowing of their criminal past.

An audit released Tuesday says Michigan improperly spent $160 million over three years on the home help program.

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