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State departments to merge Friday

Michigan Capitol Building
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Another snow day is in store for the Michigan legislature

The official merger of the state Department of Community Health with the Department of Human Services will happen this Friday.

  The new entity will be called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and will house 14,000 employees.

Governor Snyder and other state officials have said the merger will lead to more streamlined, coordinated services, but critics wonder if “efficiencies” is just a nice word for “job cuts,” and burdening already overloaded caseworkers and other staff.

Written by Chastity Pratt Dawsey, a recent piece for Bridge Magazine explores these ideas.

"What we found is that people who used the services are kind of nervous – wondering, ‘Okay what’s going to happen? It’s already hard to get my caseworker on the phone or they’re already slow in responding to my needs. And then caseworkers saying, ‘I’m overwhelmed. I have hundreds and hundreds of cases and now I have more to do.’”

State officials say the merger will bring more efficiencies. But words like “efficiencies” and “merging” are making many nervous.

“Buzz words for, ‘Here comes some more cuts,’” Dawsey said.

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