Kentucky Case Uncovers Holes in Background Checks for Nursing Home Employees

by Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Staff Writer

A case against a Kentucky nursing home may reveal holes in laws meant to protect nursing home residents since the state only requires criminal background checks for employees caring directly for nursing home residents but not background checks for nursing home support staff like maintenance workers.

According to a story by the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader posted on Kentucky.com, a lawsuit filed against a nursing home in the state indicates that the nursing home hired a maintenance worker without a criminal background check after he had been arrested for sexual solicitation of a minor and retained his services even after he was placed on Kentucky’s sex offender registry.

The Herald-Leader reported that a former nurse’s aide at the nursing home said in a lawsuit filed that the maintenance worker in question — who underwent a credit check but not a criminal background check — sexually harassed her and stalked her before he was suspended by the nursing home. The maintenance worker’s status as a registered sex offender also put nursing home residents at risk, according to the lawsuit.

While there are no state law specifically calls for criminal background checks for all nursing home employees, there are state and federal regulations that nursing home facilities shall not employ individuals who have been convicted of abusing, neglecting, or mistreating individuals, according to the Herald-Leader.

In addition, the Herald-Leader reports that the lawsuit alleges that nursing home officials could easily have found out about the maintenance worker’s past before they hired him, since the Kentucky State Police had announced that the man had been arrested for unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor in January 2008 before the facility hired him in July 2008.

The founder of an advocacy group called Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform is quoted in the story as saying he thinks all nursing home employees should have criminal background checks.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a leading provider of background checks, believes due diligence for an effective Safe Hiring Program (SHP) requires that all employees at a business who may have contact with co-workers and the public, from Management to maintenance, should undergo criminal background checks.

Employment Screening Resources ESR Home Health Care Check provides background screening services specializing in home health care workers in private homes or elder care facitlites. For more information, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/services/homehealthcare.php.

For more information about background checks in general, including background checks for nursing home employees, visit ESR at http://www.esrcheck.com.

Source:

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/07/16/1352563/not-all-nursing-home-workers-get.html