Healthcare Investigations: Home Health Workers

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Health Editor’s Note:  Home Health Workers do not work for free and may not even be qualified to deliver healthcare.  If you are going to allow someone access to your home, your family, you should be able to absolutely know that person is qualified to safely perform the job that you are paying him or her to do.   You should be able to know if he or she has been licensed or how much training that entailed?  Some states do not require background checks. You have no idea who you are allowing into your home. Be sure to check out anyone you let into your home, to administer healthcare to a loved one.  There are predators everywhere. Better safe than sorry which is a huge understatement….Carol 

Home Health Worker Scandal in Mass.

by Greg Portz for MedPage Today

Who is keeping track of crimes committed by home health aides in Massachusetts? No one. With 200 investigations by the federal Office of the Inspector General for neglect, harm, and even death across the U.S in the personal care services program, a recent Boston Globe investigation found that the Massachusetts standards for these caregivers are lax and almost non-existent. All it takes to call yourself a home caregiver in that state is little more than a 3-hour certification course with no further training necessary. Hairdressers and manicurists, the piece points out, at least need a state license — leading many with a criminal past to join the ranks of home aides. While agencies offer some protection, it comes at a cost, and “freelance” home aides work cheap leaving those without means or insurance to cover it little option but to hire them.

Linda Matchan, a correspondent for the Globe, writes that “the serious lack of oversight and regulation leaves the door wide open to people with bad intentions.” These “bad intentions” include bilking patients out of tens of thousands of dollars, scalding a patient with Down syndrome so severely that other caregivers thought it was a flesh-eating disease, and one who tortured a patient’s dog. One patient died from neglect.

Seventeen states have FBI background checks for home health workers and 12 require periodic background checks. Massachusetts is not one of them.