NURSING HOME WORKERS: Focus Of Senate Hearing Today
In response to government auditors' findings that 5% of nursing home employees had criminal records, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing today to consider requiring nursing homes to conduct employee background checks. When auditors used FBI records to check 1,000 employees from "eight randomly selected Maryland nursing homes," they found that some "nurses, nurses' aides, food service workers, housekeepers and maintenance workers" were guilty of "assault, child abuse, robbery with a deadly weapon and illegal drug sales." A similar study in Illinois, based on 21,000 background checks, also found that 5% of nursing home employees had criminal records. Aging Committee member Herb Kohl (D-WI) said, "It is just too easy for criminals to find work in nursing homes where they continue to prey upon vulnerable patients." Thirty-three states already "require nursing homes to do background checks on new job applicants," and together with Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-IA), Kohl is pushing for similar federal legislation. The lawmakers are also considering development of a "national registry of workers with a history of abusing nursing home residents" (Love, AP/Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 9/14). Today, the committee will hear testimony from witnesses such as HHS deputy inspector general of audit services Thomas Roslewicz and Richard Reichard, executive director of the National Lutheran Home for the Aged (CongressDaily/A.M., 9/14). Click here for past CHL coverage of nursing home oversight hearings.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.