Healthcare workers in West Virginia who are directly involved in patient care will likely undergo more thorough background checks
in the future. The Associated Press reports that the state Department of Health and Human Resources recently obtain $1.2 million from the federal government to conduct background checks on direct care workers. DHHS received the funds to protect patients' privacy and stop them from being "exposed to abuse and neglect." The funds will be distributed to entities including nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice care providers, long-term care hospitals, providers of residential care and adult day care, assisted living facilities and intermediate facilities for mentally disabled people. Employee background checks of nursing home workers may have prevented the negligent act that took place at one West Virginia nursing home, where workers allegedly failed to feed and care for an elderly woman with dementia who died while waiting for a transfer to an Alzheimer's care center. A jury awarded the woman's family members more than $90 million in economic and punitive damages.