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Kentucky legislature considering mandatory background checks for long term care workers

Oct 13, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Background checks are considered to be commonplace portions of job applications. They screen individuals for potential criminal indiscretions or warning signs of financial instability. However, these documents are yet to be required by many states, even for some of the most sensitive jobs.

For example, in Kentucky, individuals working in long term care facilities are currently not required to undergo comprehensive background checks, The Herald Leader reported. This may soon change, though. Following a number of incidents, including the assault of a 24-year-old autistic, non-verbal young man in one of these programs, the state legislature is considering new bills to revamp this process.

The proposed program, called Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening (KARES) - would reduce the possibility for abuse of the elderly and other adults in long term care programs, the news source wrote.

Yet not everyone thinks the idea is a good idea. James Aneszko, senior vice president of eldercare program Home Instead Senior Care, told The Herald Leader that it would create financial hardships for consumers and make it more difficult to hire employees.

"This added FBI step, which will take 48 hours to seven days to complete, will make some of our potential applicants look for other jobs," Aneszko said.

KARES seems to be supported by recent research released by a panel appointed by Congress. It recommended that long term care workers be subject to mandatory criminal background checks, PBS reported. The commission was created after a voluntary long term care program, known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS) was canceled due to its relatively high cost of management. The proposals were met with mixed reviews across partisan lines in Congress.