The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has issued a report titled Home Health Agencies Conducted Background Checks Of Varying Types. The report is in response to a congressional request for the OIG to analyze the extent to which HHAs employed those with criminal convictions and whether those convictions should have disqualified them from HHA employment. The report is a companion to the May 2014 report entitled State Requirements for Conducting Background Checks on Home Health Agency Employees – a report that identified state background-check requirements for HHAs and identified the types of criminal convictions that disqualify individuals from HHA employment.
Speaking generally, there are two types of background checks that states may require HHAs to use: statewide and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Additionally, the ACA established a Nationwide Program for National and State Background Checks on Direct Patient Access Employees of Long-Term Care Facilities and Providers called the National Background Check Program.
In the study, the OIG randomly selected a sample of 99 HHAs (six were ineligible). Responses to a survey about background check procedures and information on all employees were collected. The report found that all HHAs conducted background checks of varying types on employees and half also conducted periodic checks after date of hire.
Based on its findings, the OIG recommended that CMS promote minimum standards in background check procedures. CMS could promote minimum standards for HHA employee background checks by encouraging states to participate in the National Background Check Program. CMS agreed with the OIG’s recommendation.
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