Background checks are widely considered the most effective tool at flagging predators who may abuse, neglect and/or exploit our most vulnerable populations, including the elderly, children, and people with disabilities. The newest state to take measures to protect our aging population is Connecticut.

The state’s Department of Public Health recently launched a comprehensive background screening program for employees of nursing homes and other long-term care agencies to help weed out applicants with a disqualifying criminal history, a record or pattern of patient abuse or neglect, or any other issues that would make them unsuitable for that line of work. Long-term care facilities or providers covered under the new program include nursing homes, residential care homes, home health agencies, assisted living services agencies, intermediate care facilities for persons with intellectual disabilities, long-term care hospitals and hospice providers.

Connecticut has even implemented a web-based tracking system called the Applicant Background Check Management System, which is similar to Active Screening’s ACTivate Platform that combines a complete and comprehensive assortment of screening tools with best-in-class data storage and security. The state’s program will allow long-term care facilities who register for the program to upload data and screening results on candidates and store them in a secure portal for easy access by multiple facilities. It should reduce cost and redundancy.

Connecticut joins other states like West Virginia that have already taken swift measures to highlight the urgency for protecting the elderly and other folks who may reside full-time in care facilities like nursing homes and hospice agencies. As previously reported on ActiveCare, West Virginia’s new initiative mandates fingerprint-based state and national background checks for people who apply for jobs with access to residents or beneficiaries of long-term care services.

Both state’s initiatives are part of the Affordable Care Act and its attempt to kickstart a National Background Check Program for long-term care employees who have direct patient access. So far, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded more than $50 million to 26 states to design comprehensive national background check programs for direct patient access employees.

The program, now in its fourth year, is coming under review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The OIG recovered more than $3 billion through audits and investigations, and reported 925 criminal and 682 civil actions for crimes against HHS programs in Fiscal Year 2015, according to its Fiscal Year 2016 Work Plan.

Screening healthcare employees – from Home Health Aides to doctors – is of utmost concern. These workers are privy to a wealth of private personal, and often, financial information, that can be used for their own gain. More states need to take proactive measures to protect our vulnerable populations, but it’s important to point out that an FBI fingerprint check is NOT ENOUGH security.

Fingerprinting, even when run through an extensive database like the FBI’s, isn’t foolproof. Yes, an FBI fingerprint check will reveal personal data like your birth, names, addresses, employment and arrests but it can have incomplete or inaccurate information. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS, of which we’re an accredited agency) reports that 1.8 million workers who were subjected to FBI fingerprint checks in 2012 had faulty or incomplete information in their returns. Plus, a fingerprint check doesn’t include current findings on a personal use of illegal substances – only a drug test would prove that.

A typical background check for healthcare workers – like the ones offered by Active Screening – should include the following:

Identity & Credit
Establish your applicant’s identity, address history and personal responsibility.

Driver’s Records
Determine eligibility for driving a company or personal vehicle for business use.

Criminal Records
Identify criminal convictions or lack thereof so that you can hire with confidence.

References & Credentialing
Confirm the information provided on a resume and/or job application.

Substance Abuse Testing
Insulate your organization from workplace accidents, violence and rising health care costs.

Electronic I-9 Solutions
Verify your applicants right to work through integration with E-Verify.

Global Solutions
For a global workforce or organizations who hire overseas individuals.

Applicant-Entry Solutions
Give your applicants a simple online paperless form and payment solution.

Active Screening is committed to providing healthcare organizations top-tier screening services tailored to your needs. We work closely with you to:

• comply with federal regulations

• protect patient safety and privacy

• manage risks and minimize liabilities

Give one of our talented healthcare screening experts a call today at 1-800-319-5580.

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