Nursing Homes Study Reveals Employees with Criminal Pasts

A report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in April revealed that 92 percent of nursing homes employed at least one person with at least one criminal conviction in his or her background, and nearly 50 percent of nursing homes employed five or more such individuals.

According to the HHS report, about 84 percent of the employees who had convictions had their most recent criminal incident prior to their employment at the facility. The majority of these prior convictions (44 percent) were for crimes against property, such as burglary, shoplifting, and writing bad checks. About 20 percent were convictions for driving while intoxicated; roughly 16 percent were for drug offenses; and about 13 percent were for crimes against persons.
Federal regulations prohibit Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes from employing people found guilty of abusing, neglecting, or mistreating residents.
This study raises questions about the importance of criminal background checks on nursing home employees. Though there is no federal law or regulation requiring nursing homes to perform background checks, most states have instituted their own requirements.