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West Virginia shows residents it cares

October 2, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says a program to screen prospective workers at long-term care centers is doing what it’s designed to do: keep residents safe.

The program, West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry and Employment Screening (WV CARES), requires applicants be fingerprinted for state and federal background checks.

Nine people have already been flagged as not eligible for employment. Three were wanted for crimes in other states. The information was turned over to state police for investigation.

“This initiative shows West Virginia is serious about protecting our most vulnerable residents from the potential for abuse, neglect and exploitation by an individual with certain criminal histories” said Karen L. Bowling, WV DHHR Cabinet Secretary in an announcement.

Background checks are required of all who apply to work at:

  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • nursing facilities
  • home health agencies
  • providers of hospice care, long-term care hospitals, personal care services, adult day care
  • residential care providers that arrange for or directly provide long-term care services, including assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

The program launched in August and is being phased in to all providers by the beginning of 2016.  The program is administered by DHHR and in partnership with the West Virginia State Police Criminal Investigation Bureau.

West Virginia is one of 26 states and territories that received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the National Background Check Program (NBCP).  

In the past, each facility was responsible for running a state background check. Facilities only ran a federal check if the person lived outside West Virginia in the last five years.