Report: 92% of nursing homes hire employees with criminal convictions

The Department of Health and Human Services issued the results of a study that found, in a random sampling of 260 nursing homes, almost all the nursing home had one more employees with at least one criminal conviction.

Using FBI criminal history records, the DHHS found that nearly half of the nursing facilities employed five or more people with at least one conviction.

The study found that the 44% of those with convictions had been found guilty of property crimes including burglary, shoplifting and bad check writing. Investigators also found that seven registered sex offenders were employed in five different nursing homes.

Most states require nursing home facilities to perform either an FBI or state-wide criminal background check on prospective employees even though there is no Federal requirement to do so. However, nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding are prohibited from hiring employees found guilty of “abusing, neglecting, or mistreating residents.” This policy seems like closing the barn door after the cow has already gotten out.

The DHHS recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) work with the states to develop background check procedures and ensure that States conduct background checks consistently.

It is clear there needs to be a policy which disqualifies people who have been convicted of certain crimes from working with patients at nursing homes.

Nursing home residents often fall prey to all sorts of abuse and exploitation. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem across the nation and it takes many forms from financial exploitation to sexual abuse, bedsores, prescription abuse and neglect.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to nursing home abuse and neglect and the family of those who have died as a result of this abuse.

Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General March 2011
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