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Report (OEI-07-14-00131)

05-29-2014
State Requirements for Conducting Background Checks on Home Health Agency Employees

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Summary

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY

In response to a congressional request, OIG initiated two related evaluations regarding home health agencies' (HHAs) employment of individuals with criminal convictions. This memorandum report summarizes the first evaluation, which we conducted to (1) identify State background check requirements for HHAs and (2) identify the types of criminal convictions that, under State law or regulation, disqualify individuals for employment by HHAs. A second evaluation, entitled Home Health Agencies' Employment of Individuals With Criminal Convictions (OEI-07-14-00130), will (1) determine the extent to which HHAs employed individuals with criminal convictions as of January 1, 2014, and identify criminal convictions of selected employees that potentially disqualify them for HHA employment, and (2) identify the procedures that HHAs use to perform background checks on prospective and/or current employees.

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY

We surveyed State officials to identify State requirements for conducting background checks for prospective HHA employees, including the job positions for which States require HHAs to conduct background checks, and the types of convictions that States consider to be disqualification for HHA employment.

WHAT WE CONCLUDED

Our survey found that, of the 50 States and the District of Columbia (hereinafter referred to as States), 41 States require HHAs to conduct background checks on prospective employees. Of the 10 States that have no background check requirement, 4 States reported that they have plans to implement background check requirements in the future. Thirty-five States specify convictions that disqualify individuals from employment, and 16 States allow an individual who has been disqualified from employment to submit an application to have his/her conviction(s) waived. CMS may wish to use the information from this report as it administers the Nationwide Background Check Program. The report may also be useful to States that are considering establishing or enhancing background-check requirements for HHA employees.

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