A new piece of legislation before Congress would expand nursing homes’ ability to perform detailed background checks on potential employees. The passing of the legislation could improve hiring practices in nursing homes in an effort to reduce elder abuse.
The initiative — known as the Promote Responsible Oversight & Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act — would increase access to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) for Medicare and Medicaid providers, a system that allows firms to perform background checks on potential employees. There have been several studies that find that states who spend more on background checks for front-line workers have a higher quality of care.
Provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the database verifies that potential hires do not have a history of malpractice. Families need to trust that when a loved one is living in a long-term care facility, they will be safe and cared for. Unfortunately, there have been far too many reports of abuse in these facilities.
Many states already require applicants for nursing home jobs to undergo a criminal background check, including Florida. For example, Todd Barket applied for a job as a certified nursing assistant in a Florida nursing home in late 2018. As a result of a new background check requirement for nursing home employees, he was arrested when his fingerprints linked him to a decades-old murder. After his fingerprints were processed, they matched prints entered as evidence in the killing of a 68-year-old woman in Delray Beach, Florida in 1998.
Authorities apprehended Barket at his home, charged him with murder, thus reigniting a case that had been cold for many years. Florida is one of 26 states and the District of Columbia that now require criminal background checks for potential employees. This requirement stemmed from the National Background Check Program which was authorized by the 2012 Affordable Care Act.
The PROTECTS Act could potentially discourage current employees from attempting patient neglect and abuse, while also discouraging prospective employees with criminal records from applying to nursing home jobs. Additionally, the Act may encourage nursing homes to be more vigilant in their human resource practices. If you think you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, contact Forester Haynie at www.foresthaynie.com or give us a call at 214-210-2100.
If you think you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, contact Forester Haynie here or give us a call at 214-210-2100.