Iowa is being considered as one of ten states for a federal pilot project that would require criminal background checks for long-term care workers. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of Finance Committee, has won congressional approval for the project via the Medicare prescription drug legislation.Grassley says “Iowa is kind of in the forefront of state legislation in regard to this but the reason why it’s necessary to have federal legislation is because it’s very difficult for Iowans to check on people who have moved to Iowa from some other state and come here to work in nursing homes.” Grassley says prevention of elder abuse is the motive, saying, “It’s too easy for these few bad apples to slip through the cracks and abuse nursing home residents physically or financially. Nursing home residents deserve a better safety net. This pilot program will improve the screening process for a big part of the country’s long-term care workers.”Some states, including Iowa, have adopted systems to perform the criminal background checks on nursing home workers. The federal legislation would allow those states to build upon their existing programs and encourage other states to create their own system to monitor the background of new long-term care employees who have direct patient access. None of the ten states for the federal pilot program have been chosen, as yet.
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