OIG: 9 in 10 SNFs hire convicted criminals
The OIG checked the names of roughly 35,000 nursing home employees at 260 nursing facilities against criminal records kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency discovered that 92% of the nursing homes sampled had hired at least one convicted criminal, and that overall roughly 5% of all nursing home employees have at least one conviction.
The most common offense (44%) was a crime against property, such as burglary, shoplifting or writing bad checks, according to the report. Of those with criminal convictions, approximately one in eight had been convicted of a crime against another person, such as assault. Roughly 16% had been convicted of a crime while employed at a nursing facility. Nearly 85% of those sampled were women, and almost 70% were considered direct-care employees. The vast majority of offenders — 84% — had received their most recent convictions prior to starting their employment.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires the establishment of a nationwide criminal background check for all prospective nursing home employees who will have, specifically, “direct patient access,” according to the OIG report.
The agency recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services clearly define the employee classifications that are direct patient access employees, and work with states to develop a list of convictions that would disqualify a person from employment in a nursing facility.
The new healthcare law offers states $160 million to improve criminal background checks on prospective employees of long-term care providers.