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CMS Releases $13 Million to Fight Abuse in LTC Facilities

October 6, 2010
by root
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To combat abuse and neglect in the nation’s long-term care facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today awarded more than $13 million to six states to design comprehensive applicant criminal background check programs for jobs involving direct patient care.

“Elder abuse and neglect is tragic and intolerable,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Workers with a history of abuse or neglect should be identified and prevented from ever working with residents of these facilities.”

The new National Background Check Program, created with funds from the healthcare reform legislation, will help identify “best practices” for long-term care providers to determine whether a job seeker has any kind of criminal history or other disqualifying information that could make him or her unsuitable to work directly with residents.

The first round of states to participate in the program include: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Missouri, and Rhode Island. They each will share a portion of $13.7 million.

An additional 11 states applied and may be funded beginning in October or November. CMS will also issue a second solicitation in October for those states that did not apply but may still do so.

The new law set aside $160 million for the program, which is to run through September 2012, an amount sufficient to enable all states to participate.

The national background check for each prospective direct patient care employee must include a criminal history search of both state and federal abuse and neglect registries and databases, such as the Nurse Aide Registry or FBI files.

Long-term care facilities or providers covered under the new program include nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice providers, long-term care hospitals, and intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation, and other entities that provide long-term care services.

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National Background Check Program at CMS with solicitations and memos to states

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Comments

Currently background checks are being mandated in most states that I have worked in LTC. It appears that we are spending money in the area that has that current requirement. In regards to the family members taking advantage of the elderly is more present than not. I know Adult Protective Services is available, but one may consider funding that arena. In addition, LTC industry is highly regulated now, so why keep finding fault and not on providing adequate reimbursement to take care of the elderly. We probably spend higher $ per capita to keep person in prison than in SNF through the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

I work in a long term care facility as the Assistant Director of Nurses - here's a thought... How about our government focus on some other areas that need focusing on ...like the leaches and parasites of our society who prey on the elderly because of pension and social security checks in the community, keep them at home,and pose as caregivers , and by the time they get into the long term care system, are malnourished, have bedsores, skin tears from falling, rashes from incontinence, and urinary tract infections from dehydration? Many elderly persons want to stay at home and will do most anything to do that...our system is broken....all the way around. Why not criminal background checks on powers of attorney? Why not make these people accountable for neglect, and abuse, and exploitation just as long term care facilities are? Adult Protective Services is understaffed, and regulations are wavy! And why not employ persons who really can assess the situations?

We've been doing background (C.O.R.I.) checks on prospective employees for years in Massachusetts. We are also required to check the CNA registry of every state the person has ever worked in.

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