The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) now requires fingerprint-based state and national criminal background checks for long-term care workers, according to The Exponent Telegram.
The new program is called the West Virginia Clearance for Access: Registry and Employment Screening (WV CARES), and went live in all of the state's nursing homes on Aug. 1. All prospective direct care workers who apply for positions in the state will be required to go through this check, including: home health agencies; providers of hospice care, long-term care hospitals, personal care services, adult day care; and residential care providers that arrange for or directly provide long-term care services, including assisted living facilities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, a press release stated.
Several states have background check initiatives in place, but West Virginia is one of only 11 states that have successfully passed legislation to require the additional national checks.
"This initiative is so important as West Virginia’s long-term care facilities are home to approximately 12,000 residents and employ roughly 18,000 direct access workers," Karen Bowling, DHHR cabinet secretary, said in a press release. "The new program will reduce the potential for abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and other vulnerable adults by ensuring that individuals with certain criminal histories will not become direct access workers in long-term care in the Mountain State."