CMS issues first round of grants for nursing home background checks

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Six states are set to share in $14 million in grants for creating comprehensive, streamlined background check systems for long-term care employees.

Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Missouri and Rhode Island will split the first round of the grant funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Other states are expected to apply later this month. The funding is part of the healthcare reform law. It initially was part of the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act, which Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, had championed. The funding stemmed from a 2003 pilot program that stopped 7,000 potentially violent former offenders from gaining access to jobs in long-term care.

States will use the funding to establish coordinated systems that include checks against multiple abuse and neglect registries and a state police check. The program will also require that applicants be checked against the FBI's national database of criminal history records.