Featured News 2016 Nursing Home Employees With Criminal Records

Nursing Home Employees With Criminal Records

Considering the fact that elderly individuals living in nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable adults, it would be logical to assume that nursing homes should not hire employees with criminal records. But, unfortunately an evaluation by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General discovered otherwise.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) was asked by a member of Congress to conduct an evaluation to determine if nursing home facilities nationwide were in the habit of employing individuals with criminal records.

Federal regulations specifically bar Medicare and Medicaid facilities from hiring anyone who has been convicted of mistreating, neglecting or abusing elderly residents by the legal system, or who have been entered into a state nurse aide registry for committing any such abuses in the nursing home setting, including theft.

While the regulation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) states that nursing facilities are required to thoroughly investigate the past histories of job candidates, the problem is that federal law does not require nursing homes to conduct Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background checks. Instead, each state has its own laws regarding background checks and the requirements vary from state-to-state.

OIG Conducts FBI Background Checks

The OIG selected 260 nursing home facilities randomly and requested data about their employees. The OIG cross-checked the employee's background information with criminal record information provided by the FBI.

What did the OIG find? When the OIG analyzed the FBI criminal history records of nursing home employees, it found that 92% of the nursing facilities employed at least one person with one or more criminal convictions.

Almost half of the nursing homes evaluated employed five or more people with criminal convictions. What's more, 44% of the employees with a criminal record were convicted of theft-related crimes, such as burglary, shoplifting, and writing bad checks – this is an issue for financial exploitation in the nursing home setting.

If you believe that your loved one is being neglected, abused, or financially exploited by a caregiver with a criminal history, we urge you to contact a nursing home abuse attorney to learn about your legal options.

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