The new approach to background checks comes with new equipment, but federal money to cover the cost of new equipment, state officials have said.
Prospective caregivers for some of Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens may soon be subject to the more extensive checks thanks to a $3 million grant to establish a comprehensive statewide system.
Local caregiving facilities such as Riverview Manor Nursing Home in Prestonsburg say they already have procedures in place or background checks for applicants, but would welcome any money the federal government could provide, especially if new equipment would be required.
"We agree that stringent background checks are necessary and have done them for many years at Riverview," said Missy Allen, administator at Riverview. "In addition, we routinely do multi-state checks for those candidates who may have recently moved to the area or lived outside Kentucky previously. We always want to make sure we are hiring the best qualified individuals to care for our residents, and the commonwealth's assistance with availablility of more stringent background checks is welcomed."
Currently, state law requires long-term care facilities to conduct only name-based background checks for their prospective employees. This grant, however, will help the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) purchase equipment to conduct digital fingerprint background checks, which will ultimately enhance patient safety.
The grant enables the state to purchase live scan equipment to secure digital fingerprints that will be used for both in-state and FBI criminal background checks, according to cabinet officials.
Gov. Steve Beshear touts the implementation as another step toward ensuring the elderly citizens throughout the state are cared for in the best manner possible.
“This falls directly in line with our ongoing work to address elder abuse and improve patient care in long-term care facilities," Beshear said Wednesday.
Once established, this new statewide system will allow officials to perform more in-depth screening of applicants seeking employment at nursing, intermediate care and Alzheimer’s facilities; personal care and family care homes; home health agencies, hospice care providers, long-term care hospitals, personal services agencies, adult day care providers, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities, and other entities that provide long-term services.
Kentucky is home to 590 long-term care facilities, 101 assisted living facilities, and roughly 600 other providers who employ direct patient access workers.