Minnesota to expand caregiver screening to prevent negligent retention

Minnesota Caregiver ImageBeginning in October 2014, Minnesota’s Department of Human Services is expected to implement new policies for pre-employment background screening when it comes to caregivers for the elderly, disabled and children. New state legislation has passed requiring all current and future employees in these industries to undergo fingerprint background checks, in an attempt to avoid the negligent retention of employees who may have been arrested for felony crimes since they were hired. Negligent retention is a concern, as the state previously only required background screening to be completed upon hiring. Because of the lack of follow-up on existing employees, there is the potential of allowing abuse to remain unchecked. Provided an employee never switches jobs, he or she would never undergo another background check, and a criminal history could remain hidden for years. The Department had not expanded its background-screening policies since 1991, when it began conducting criminal background checks on caregivers. The new legislation is estimated to affect up to 200,000 employees that work in Minnesota nursing homes, mental hospitals, daycare centers and other state-licensed facilities. In addition to fingerprinting employees, the legislation intends to prevent negligent retention by utilizing a new state database system that would inform an employer if an employee — or potential employee — was convicted of a felony that would deny that candidate the ability to work in a caregiver role. The online database (Minnesota Court Information System) was funded by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and would be maintained by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The system would also allow facilities to save money by not conducting the same screening processes over and over on the same candidates, as any new criminal history information would be available “within hours.” The process of fingerprinting is expected to begin in October, with the Department setting up 50 fingerprint stations across the state. To learn more about preventing negligent retention at your facility, contact Mind Your Business today. photo credit: USAID_IMAGES via photopin cc]]>

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