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Health

Staffers Protest Maine DHHS' Decision To Terminate Provider's Contract

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Patty Wight
/
Maine Public
Protesters outside the Department of Health and Human Services office in Portland

Staffers from a private social services company that lost its contract with the state last week protested Monday outside the Department of Health and Human Services office in Portland.

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Credit Patty Wight / Maine Public
Angie Marquis outside DHHS in Portland.

Employees of Residential and Community Support Services say the termination of its MaineCare contract last week, after the death of an intellectually disabled client in its care, threatens the health and safety of some 60 other clients.

“By closing RCSS, 375 people are going to be out of work. Clients are going to be moved into homes they don’t know,” says Angie Marquis, RCSS director of crisis and intakes.

Marquis says the company is being singled out for challenges that all providers face, including staffing shortages.

"And so this is a systems issue, not an RCSS issue," she says.

Marquis says RCSS’s appeal of the state’s decision is doomed to fail because DHHS will conduct the review.

The company claims that the state is at fault for the death of Norman Fisher, who was diabetic and under state guardianship when he was transferred to one of RCSS’s residences and died within 72 hours.

DHHS spokesperson Jackie Farwell says RCSS has demonstrated repeated failures to ensure the health and safety of its clients since the department halted admissions two months ago.  Farwell says the Maine Department of Labor is ready to provide Rapid Response resources to RCSS employees whose jobs are affected.