CMS Workgroup Recommends National Consistency in Criminal Background Checks

April 26, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Most states do not have a definition of a direct access employee who could be barred from working in healthcare settings because of past criminal convictions, according to a recent report from a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) workgroup on criminal background checks in long-term care. In addition, while most states have statutes defining convictions or other factors that could disqualify an individual from working in certain settings, these statutes vary considerably from state to state in terms of the types of convictions that would lead to disqualification, the length of a ban (i.e., lifetime or time-limited), and the availability of appeal processes. The nature of background checks is also identified as a concern, with some states requiring fingerprint-based checks and others requiring only name-based checks; the workgroup recommends that all background checks be fingerprint-based, noting that this will represent a change in some states.

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