I had to do a double-take when I saw some nursing home staffing statistics referenced in a report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). An alarming 92% of nursing homes across the country have at least one criminal– in one form or another– working at the facility.
In calculating this disturbing statistic, 260 nursing homes were randomly selected from the almost 16,000 nursing homes that receive Medicare funding. Lists of current employees were then compared with data from FBI criminal records.
The study defined a criminal as an employee with a conviction for an assortment of criminal activities such as: crimes against property (theft), drug-related convictions, motor vehicle theft and crimes against others.
Aside from banning the hiring of employees with convictions relating to the, abuse, neglect or mistreating of residents, further hiring restrictions are left to the individual states. Currently, there is little uniformity in conducting background checks for new hires.
Only 10 states utilize FBI background screening, 33 states require a statewide criminal background check and eight states have no regulation regarding criminal background checks– Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.
As if the general tone of the report is not alarming enough, the study didn’t even take into consideration contract employees provided by staffing companies or employees working in similar facilities such as hospice or assisted living facilities.
Certainly, the lack of staffing requirements need to be addressed by congress as we repeatedly see the true problems that accompany these lack of regulations to be the elderly men and women who are frequently at the mercy of these criminals behind the closed doors of their facilities.
For additional information view our North Dakota nursing home law page.
Feds: 92% of Nursing Homes Staffed By Criminals Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2011