A report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 92% of all nursing homes employ at least one worker with a criminal conviction. In total, ex-cons make up about 5% of nursing home workers in the country, the IG estimated after checking with a random sample of 260 nursing homes certified by Medicare. Background screening is a process designed to protect the most vulnerable members of society – including the elderly – so for nursing homes to be ignoring the screening regulations put in place is an appalling practice. When people put members of their family in a nursing home they are placing great faith and trust in the employees working there. For the homes to be placing the residents in the hands of criminals shows complete disregard for the residents, their welfare and their families. Of those workers with convictions, 44% had committed property crimes (i.e. theft, vandalism, writing bad checks), 16% had drug-related crimes and 13% had committed crimes against people, including sexual offenses. Federal regulations prohibit Medicare and Medicaid nursing facilities from employing people found guilty of abusing, neglecting or mistreating residents. They also prohibit those facilities from hiring anyone who has had a finding entered into the state nurse aide registry concerning abuse, neglect or mistreatment or residents or the misappropriation of their property. The data collected in this study doesn’t confirm whether any of the facilities studied violated the regulations.]]>
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