Nursing home employees who didn’t get fingerprinted as part of a background check can keep their jobs, but they haven’t been allowed to care for residents since a deadline killing a COVID-era exemption hit Tuesday.
Connecticut’s Department of Public Health refused to extend the July 20 deadline, even as it became clear that the number of affected employees had dwindled dramatically. Operators scrambled in recent weeks to ensure staff hired during the COVID-19 emergency would come into compliance. The state paused the fingerprinting requirement because police barracks that offered the process were closed for non-emergency functions.
The health department previously said any of 7,500 workers hired during the pandemic who were still without fingerprints by July 20 would be terminated. As of Tuesday, about 630 statewide still needed to be fingerprinted, according to the Connecticut Mirror newspaper.
Those workers cannot provide direct care to residents until they complete the fingerprinting process. The state defines direct care as providing “physical access to a patient or resident of a long-term care facility that affords an individual the opportunity to commit abuse or neglect against or misappropriate the property of a patient or resident.”
Matthew Barrett, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, told the newspaper most nursing home workers have been fingerprinted.
“The nursing home operators and employees made a tremendous effort to meet the fast-tracked deadlines imposed by the state, while the facilities remain in a period of recovery from the impact of the pandemic,” he said.