Feds offer more support for workers' background checks

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CMS is offering funding for background checks at three times state rates.
CMS is offering funding for background checks at three times state rates.

A federal agency is again offering to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to employee background checks for long-term care providers. All direct-care employees could potentially be affected.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a survey and certification letter, to notify states that have not yet applied about matching grant funds to perform the background checks.

The background check program is aimed at states that would like to start or improve their background-check efforts. It is a part of Section 6201 of the Affordable Care Act.

CMS said it had received applications from 26 states and territories by the time the agency's ninth letter for solicitations was issued March 1. Twenty-two states had been awarded grants at that time. Those that did not receive the full award amount may re-apply for the remaining allowable amount.

New applications for grants will be due by May 31, according to the letter.

Any state accepting the funding must guarantee it will make available non-federal funds to help cover the cost of the program. Gains from civil monetary penalty funds may be used to meet the state-match requirement, officials said.

CMS will provide federal funding at three times the rate the state guarantees, but not exceeding $3 million over a 36-month projected budget period. States that took part in the pilot program from 2004-2007 are not allowed to accept more than $1.5 million this time out.

More information about funding for the “Nationwide Program for National and State Background Checks for Direct Patient Access Employees of Long Term Care Facilities and Providers” is at grants.gov