Law requires stringent screening of certain health care employees

Q&A with Patricia Rogers

published in The Oklahoman | January 30, 2014

Healthcare lawyer Patricia Rogers was interviewed by The Oklahoman about a new state law that mandates a more stringent screening process for job applicants in certain health care professions that involve, or potentially involve, direct contact with patients or their property, medical information, or financial information on an ongoing basis.

The Oklahoma Long Term Care Security Act (HB 2582) applies to adult day care centers, residential care homes, intermediate care facilities for disabled adults, nursing homes, continuum of care and assisted living facilities, Medicare-certified home health agencies, and certain other employers identified in the Act. Staffing agencies and independent contractors who provide employees to staff affected healthcare facilities and programs will also be required to comply with the law.

According to Rogers, affected health care providers are prohibited from hiring, retaining or granting clinical privileges to individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, sanctioned by licensing bodies, or listed on offender registries.

“The act mandates that the employers perform a screening and fingerprint-based national background check prior to employment,” she said. “A ‘name-based’ criminal background check by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation will no longer be sufficient.”

The law provides for a staggered implementation schedule that begins March 1, 2014 and continues through August 1, 2014.

For more detailed information on how the new screening process and fingerprint-based national background check program works, please see our Healthcare Industry Alert, “New Oklahoma security law requires fingerprint-based background checks on certain healthcare employees.”

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