Friday, November 11, 2016

Home Help Services in Michigan : Some reforms, but are they enough?

On November 10, 2016, I wrote a blogpost on fraud and abuse in the Medicaid-funded Personal Care Services program. Michigan's version of this program is known as Home Help Services. This is a follow-up on updated information on MIchigan's program of in-home support for people with developmental and other disabilities.


In June 2014, the Michigan Auditor General released a report on the Michigan Home Help Program that revealed multiple problems with fraud and abuse in the system of Medicaid-funded home care for people for with developmental and other disabilities. This was covered by The DD News Blog along with reforms approved by the state including criminal background checks on caregivers. 

My two adult sons with DD live in a group home and do not receive services through the Home Help Program. These services are included in the care that the group home provides along with other services to meet their extensive needs for care and supervision. The Home Help Program is set up to provide non-medical services in one’s own home or in the home of another such as a relative or friend. They include help with activities of daily living.  Community Living Supports that facilitate an individual’s independence, productivity, and promote inclusion and participation are usually provided under Michigan’s Medicaid waiver program for DD. These services are not the same as Home Help Services and are administered and funded under a different program.

I have heard complaints about the computerized system that the state has set up for registering with the Home Help program and receiving payments for services, but beyond that, I don’t know much about it. If anyone would care to leave a comment on this blogpost on how well the Home Help program is working, I would be glad to hear from you.

More information on the Michigan Home Help program:

Here is the Michigan Home Help Website. 

This includes an update on the Electronic Verification System (EVS) for Home Help Providers who are often parents or other relatives of the person receiving care. To my mind, the most important item here is the Provider Hotline at 1-800-979-4662 for assistance with the EVS. 

There are links to all kinds of information. I linked to Provider Trainings and came up with this message: “Contact your local DHS (Department of Human Services) office for information available in your area.” Apparently, training is handled locally, but I don’t know if there are state guidelines for what is available. 

Here are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Home Help program with important contact information on all aspects of the program for providers. 

One revealing link is to pay rates by county for caregivers and agency providers, as of 1/1/16.  Most counties pay $8.50/hour to individual providers with a few paying up to $11/hour. Wow! This is hard work, but don’t expect that to be reflected in individual pay rates.

Michigan has a registry for providers, but does not have a link to a list of home care workers. For people interested in providing services for additional clients, call 800-979-4662 to be placed on the registry.

There is more detailed information on the Website that will be of interest to providers of services.

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