Kentucky has received a $3 million federal grant to conduct criminal background checks using digital fingerprints on prospective employees who provide direct care to residents at long-term care facilities, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday.
State law requires long-term care facilities to conduct only name-based background checks for prospective employees who provide direct care. But the grant will help the Cabinet for Health and Family Services buy scanning equipment needed to get digital fingerprints that can be used for state and FBI criminal background checks.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administers the National Background Check Program.
Although state law does not mandate that employees submit to fingerprint checks, long-term care facilities will be expected to participate in the grant program voluntarily, said Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokeswoman Jill Midkiff.
Additionally, the cabinet intends to pursue legislation that would require the fingerprint checks for caregivers employed in long-term care facilities, Midkiff said.
One bill concerning background checks failed in the 2011 General Assembly. Senate Bill 44, sponsored by Sen. Tom Buford R-Nicholasville, would have required nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks on all employees, including custodians and food service workers, not just workers providing direct care.