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More than 90 percent of nursing homes hire criminals

Mar 04, 2011 Matt Roesly

A review of criminal history records found that 92 percent of nursing facilities employed at least one worker who had at least one criminal conviction, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General recently announced. The office's review found that 5 percent of total nursing facility employees had at least one criminal conviction. Federal law forbids Medicare and Medicaid nursing facilities from giving jobs to any person who has been found guilty of, or has a state investigation concerning, his or her neglect, abuse or mistreatment of residents or misappropriation of residents' property. Most of the convictions occurred before employment, the report says. Federal law does not require nursing facilities to conduct Federal Bureau of Investigation or statewide criminal background checks. Since FBI criminal history records do not provide information on whether crimes were committed against a nursing facility resident, the office recommends in its report that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services develop procedures to fill in the gap in background information. Criminal background checks are an important aspect of pre-employment screening, and can help prevent workplace violence and fraud against companies and their clients. A nursing home in Pennsylvania was recently fined after police discovered an administrator was stealing from patients, WNEP-TV reports.