The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Friday it would award $25 million in grants in up to 10 states through fiscal year 2007 to help nursing homes and other long-term care agencies evaluate programs on background checks. The project, mandated under the Medicare Modernization Act, is designed to increase safety in nursing homes.

“This pilot program will give potential employers valuable tools to help them determine whether an applicant is the best person for the job,” said CMS Administrator Dr. Mark McClellan.

All states are eligible to apply for the grant. The money can be used to either implement a new background check program or to improve an existing one.

The application form is due Sept. 30. CMS said it plans to announce grant winners this fall.