Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) are urging Congress to pass the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act, which would provide funding to all 50 states to help create a nationwide infrastructure of background checks in the long-term care field.

Over a three-year period, a background check pilot program prevented more than 9,500 convicted criminals and persons with a history of abuse from gaining employment in the long-term care sector, according to results of the program recently released by Kohl.

The test program was carried out in seven states–Wisconsin, New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan and Nevada-between 2003 and 2006. Federal funds were available to the participating states for database investments, workforce background check units and additional training for long-term care providers. All seven states have said they plan to continue the program. Funding for the PSAP Act has already been approved by the Senate in anticipation of the bill’s passage.