Monday, May 7, 2012

Criminal Records and Nursing Home Employees

Nursing home employment patterns have undergone a recent study, according to The New York Times.  Using recent data from a national stusdy, researchers found that up to 90% of nursing homes employ people that have been convicted of a crime.  Additionally, 5% of all nursing home employees have at least one criminal conviction. This data comes as a result of a study done by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.  They used data from more than 35,000 nursing home employees and cross-referencing the data from criminal records at the FBI.  The most common types of conviction were for crimes against property (burglary, drug-related offenses, vandalism, etc). However, some nursing home employees had been convicted of crimes like assault.
Although federal rules DO say that nursing homes cannot employ people who have been found guilty of elder abuse or neglect, but federal records do not always state if the victim was a nursing home resident.

According to the article in the NYT, "Our analysis of F.B.I. criminal history records revealed that 92 percent of nursing facilities employed at least one individual with at least one criminal conviction,” Mr. Levinson (the inspector general) said. “Nearly half of nursing facilities employed five or more individuals with at least one conviction. For example, a nursing facility with a total of 164 employees had 34 employees with at least one conviction each.”

Currently, there is no federal guideline explicitly requiring nursing homes to check federal and/or state criminal history records for job applicants. Only ten states require both a check of FBI and state records, and 33 require a check of state records.  The rest do not have any specific requirements at all.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please visit our website

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