Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Senate Approves Bill to Require Background Checks on Long-Term Care Employees

On September 10, the Senate Finance Committee approved S. 1577, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act. The bill would require criminal background checks for all employees with direct patient access in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The bill does not include hospitals or managed care facilities.

In addition to conducting an NPDB-HIPDB query, participating states must screen job applicants in both the state police database and the FBI’s national criminal history database. The goal of the legislation is to increase patient safety by preventing the hire of employees with prior history of abuse or violence.

Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) is calling for the bill to be passed by the end of September. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) believes the bill can be passed by unanimous consent.

A full version of S. 1577 is available here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-1577

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