Database of caregivers to be available March 1, but it is incomplete, news investigation finds

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MDS 3.0 to 'dramatically affect' survey process, CMS says
MDS 3.0 to 'dramatically affect' survey process, CMS says

After 22 years of delays, a federal database of potentially dangerous caregivers will be made available to healthcare providers on March 1. But a news report finds that thousands of disciplinary records are missing from it.

The federal database is designed to compile information from various state agencies to prevent dangerous or incompetent caregivers from getting new healthcare jobs in different states. But when investigative journalists compared the federal list to information on state Web sites, they discovered discrepancies. For example, many of the states have filed reports only occasionally, and at least nine states have submitted incomplete records on registered nurses, according to the joint ProPublica and Los Angeles Times investigation. Many of the missing disciplinary actions against workers have occurred within the last few years, the two news agencies found.

Healthcare workers can be licensed in multiple states, making comprehensive background checks difficult. Many state licensing agencies have complicated rules for sanctioning workers, and are often reluctant to share information, according to the Times. In response to the discovery of the discrepancies, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on Friday sent a letter to the nation's governors seeking assistance to fill the information gap.