State can't bar all home-help aides with felonies

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan will conduct background checks on all 70,000 home-help workers in the Medicaid program, but its hands may be tied in limiting ex-felons from participating.

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration said Monday the federal government only excludes people from being independent-living aides if they've been convicted of patient abuse and neglect, health care fraud or drug offenses. Once a background check policy's in place by October, Michigan will notify any recipient whose caretaker has a history of committing other crimes.

Recipients could choose whether to stick with their caretakers or not. Many hire family members already knowing of their criminal past.

State officials are studying whether the Legislature could enact state laws prohibiting violent ex-convicts from being home-help workers. A recent audit found nearly 3,800 independent-living aides with felony convictions.

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