A new Office of Inspector General (OIG) analysis of criminal history records maintained by the FBI has revealed that 92% of nursing facilities have employed at least one individual with at least one criminal conviction. Overall, 5% of nursing facility employees had at least one criminal conviction.
“We selected a stratified random sample of 260 nursing facilities from the universe of 15,728 Medicare-certified nursing facilities and requested data on all individuals who were employed by the sampled nursing facilities on June 1, 2009,” according to the OIG report.
Most often, criminal convictions were for crimes against property (e.g., burglary, shoplifting, and writing bad checks) and occurred prior to employment in the nursing facility. “We also found that despite the lack of a Federal requirement for nursing facilities to conduct criminal background checks, most States required, and/or nursing facilities reported conducting, some type of background check,” according to OIG.
OIG recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services develop background check procedures that define employee classifications for those tasked with direct patient access; and work with participating states to develop a list of convictions for disqualifying an individual from nursing facility employment with timeframes in which each conviction bars the individual from employment.
CMS agreed with the OIG’s recommendation and stated it will work with states through the National Background Check Program—created through healthcare reform—to assist them in developing lists of convictions that disqualify individuals from employment.
Full report: Nursing Facilities’ Employment of Individuals with Criminal Convictions (PDF format)