Report: Decertified Nurse Assistants Rehired as Caregivers
A new report by the state Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes found that some nurse assistants who lost their certification over misconduct were hired to work as caregivers in assisted living facilities because of a computer tracking loophole, the AP/Monterey County Herald reports (Tayefe Mohajer/Hoag, AP/Monterey County Herald, 3/20).
According to the report, the Department of Social Services has failed to comply with a 2006 law (SB 1759) that requires it to establish a centralized database for conducting cross-checks on applicants to six Health and Human Services departments.
The agency has not sought funding for the database because of state budget constraints (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 3/19).
In a small sampling using uncommon names, the oversight office found 20 instances of nurse assistants whose certification was revoked by the state Department of Public Health because of abuse, negligence or theft in nursing homes who then were cleared by DSS for work as caregivers.Â
DSS spokesperson Liselda Lopez said that after the Senate office began its inquiry in November 2009, the department began investigating all 140,000 caregivers and found only a handful of cases of decertified nurse assistants beyond the 20 mentioned in the report.
Information Exchange Needed
John Hill, a consultant who prepared the report, said that although criminal background checks are routine, the lack of a centralized database makes it difficult for agencies to determine whether any past administrative actions have been taken against applicants.
Lopez said that the DSS now is exchanging information on disciplinary actions and caregiver applicants with DPH each month. She added that her department is working on establishing similar information exchanges with other HHS departments (AP/Monterey County Herald, 3/20).
The Senate Subcommittee on Aging and Long-Term Care has scheduled a review of the report on March 24 (Sacramento Business Journal, 3/19).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.