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Government Report Discovers 92 Percent of Nursing Homes Employ Convicts

Posted on March 30, 2011

A report by ProPublica shows that up to 92 percent of nursing homes employ at least one worker who has had a criminal conviction that may include theft, vandalism, drug-related crimes, and sexual offenses.

The news organization quotes a report released March 3 by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. To compile the report, the Office of the Inspector General requested information from a random sampling of 260 nursing home facilities from around the country. While most states, including Florida, conduct background checks on their new hires, the report shows about one out of every 20 nursing home workers had at least one conviction that went undetected.

Florida is one of 33 states that requires a statewide background check but does not require an additional FBI review of a prospective hires’ criminal background. That means a person convicted of a crime in one state can move to Florida and seek a job in a nursing home to avoid consequences.

A nationwide database is reported to be riddled with gaps and the government suggests tightening the review of background checks by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that oversees the homes that are eligible for federal coverage. CMS has a searchable database to learn more about the ratings of a particular nursing home.

Under Florida Statute 400, the Nursing Home Bill of Rights requires basic dignity be shown to our elderly. The law recognizes physical, emotional and sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect and abandonment as causes for action. Anyone of any social standing or ethnic group can become the victim of elder abuse.

If you think a loved one is being abused or neglected by a caretaker, call the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or the police if the situation merits immediate intervention. Then call the Florida nursing home abuse lawyers at Farah & Farah, who will launch an investigation to determine who should be held accountable. Whatever you do, please do something to stop elder abuse.