By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor
An Indiana provider has been hit with $376,000 in penalties – which Indiana officials call one of the biggest fines of its kind – for employing several individuals at nursing homes who either had been convicted of criminal offenses or stripped of their licenses.
According to a news report, the fines were larger than usual because the provider – an operator of nursing homes – did not self-report the violations concerning seven employees who were ineligible to work where Medicaid payments were involved. The U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) became aware of the problem in 2009.
A deputy in the office of the counsel to the Inspector General quoted in the news report said the provider “knew or should have known” the employees were excluded from taking part in federal healthcare programs. The deputy also stated that:
- The majority of ineligible employees had lost their licenses or had their licenses revoked.
- Violations are self-reported by provider companies in most similar cases.
- Providers should regularly check lists of contractors and workers who are excluded from participation in government reimbursement programs.
This case reveals the growing need for more extensive nursing home employee background checks, or of any caregivers working with vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, or those people with special needs. Nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to a higher duty of care to patients. Employers at nursing homes can be sued not only for negligent hiring, but also negligent retention if they knew – or should have known – there was a problem, not to mention negligent supervision.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading provider of background checks accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – offers a search vital for most healthcare industries: the OIG/GSA Name Search.
Together, the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) Excluded List and GSA (General Services Administration) Sanctions Report search the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and OIG databases for individuals and businesses excluded or sanctioned from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and other Federally funded programs.
ESR also offers expanded health cover searches that cover disciplinary actions taken by federal agencies as well as those taken by licensing and certification agencies in all 50 states. This is the most comprehensive search method available.
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, visit Employment Screening Resources at http://www.ESRcheck.com.