HHS to Improve Patient Safety, Cut Abuse

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) — The U.S. government allocated $13 million for six states to design criminal background check programs for those applying for work providing direct patient care.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, says the new National Background Check Program is part of the Affordable Care Act, which will help identify “best practices” for long-term care providers to determine whether a job seeker has any kind of criminal history or other disqualifying information that could make one unsuitable for patient care work.

“Elder abuse and neglect is tragic and intolerable — workers with a history of abuse or neglect should be identified and prevented from ever working with residents of these facilities,” Sebelius says in a statement.

The first round of states to participate in the program — Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Missouri and Rhode Island — will share a portion of $13.7 million.

An additional 11 states applied and may be funded by November, officials say.

The Affordable Care Act allocates $160 million for the program, an amount sufficient for all states to participate, Sibelius says.

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