(Editor's note: Michigan Capitol Confidential reported about the 'dues skim' from Michigan home health care providers to the SEIU via the Michigan Quality Community Care Council. The following is a response from MCQ3 Chairman Scott Heinzman.)
Capitol Confidential asked the MQC3 the following questions:
The number given us by DHS was 60,190 individual [home healthcare] providers with only 3,844 working for more than one client. [We are] looking for your comment on those figures.
Also, according to your (MQC3) website there are only 933 providers available on your registry. The appearance created is that, if there are positive impacts from MQC3, they're affecting a very small proportion of home health care workers, while the vast majority's only involvement is to have dues extracted from their checks that is then sent to the union. You certainly could comment on this, too.
Also, could you clarify how many of your home health care workers are having union dues extracted from Medicaid checks? Also, how many of the 56,000-plus home health care workers who only have one client are actually just people taking care of relatives?
Dear Mr. Spencer;
Thank you for your interest in the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MCQ3). I am responding to the email you sent to our Executive Director, Susan Steinke on 1/24/12.
The focus of your questions suggests a misconception regarding the primary purpose of the MQC3. We are a consumer driven organization. Our main function has been the creation and operation of a provider registry for the benefit of Home Help Program (HHP) consumers with the intention of expanding to other programs as the demand is expected to increase.
Attached is the Interlocal Agreement, which created the MQC3. I strongly urge you to read it. Many disability community advocates worked hard to see it realized (see 2nd attachment).
The Department of Community Health would be the proper source to answer your questions regarding the figures you cite.
We appreciate your invitation to speak to the positive impacts of the MQC3 because what we do is an important service for HHP consumers and providers.
More than 2,800 consumers are using our registry. Consumers were able to receive trainings on how to recruit, hire, manage and dismiss providers — an invaluable service. Providers were receiving important skill trainings such as CPR/First Aid & Communication and Problem Solving. Peer mentoring was available for both consumers and providers.
The registry is a tool to help consumers avoid gaps in home help services and supports. Interruption in these services and supports could mean preventable deteriorations in health, hospitalizations and/or institutionalizations. We’re dealing with the lives of real people. The game of politics has no place here!
The consumer/provider relationship is very personal. It depends on trust. Consumers need to retain whom they have - the people who know their routines. They don’t want just anybody coming into their homes. The registry requires references and criminal background checks before providers can even be on it.
Also, consumers want their providers paid well because they are very valuable to them and it prevents providers from leaving them for better paying work. Since MQC3 began, the majority of providers have seen their wages have rise from $5.35 per hour to $8.00 per hour, a 56% increase. There is room for more improvement as far as consumers are concerned.
It is curious to me why after more than seven years of operation you take issue with our existence and what we do. More concerning is that you don’t appear to be interested in the important services we provide consumers, which help them remain in their own homes.
Everything about us is public record. I encourage you to read through our minutes the past seven plus years to see the extent of what we do and the difference we make in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
I am happy to answer any further questions I can regarding the activities of the MQC3.
Chairperson, Board of Directors
Michigan Quality Community Care Council