Connecticut implements worker background checks

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health has launched a comprehensive background check program for direct care employees of assisted living services agencies and other long-term care providers.

“With this system, Connecticut has implemented an important safeguard which will help protect the health and safety of some of our most vulnerable residents and clients,” said DPH Commissioner Jewel Mullen, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A. She thanked former Sen. Edith Prague for sponsoring P.A. 11-242 authorizing the program as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

State law requires that a national background check be conducted for each prospective direct care employee or volunteer. The check must include a history search of both state and federal criminal records, abuse and neglect registries and databases such as the Connecticut Nurse Aide Registry.

The new Applicant Background Check Management System provides operators with a web portal to submit information on potential direct-care employees or volunteers and to obtain fingerprint-based criminal history records checks, as well as checks of several relevant registries, before hiring. Facilities subject to the background check program must register with the system.

In addition to assisted living services agencies, long-term care facilities or providers covered under the new program include nursing homes, residential care homes, home health agencies, intermediate care facilities for persons with intellectual disabilities, long-term care hospitals and hospice providers. DPH will oversee the background check system, while DESPP will work with the FBI to support the fingerprinting and criminal history record checks under the program.

DPH Principal Attorney Matthew Antonetti, who leads DPH's management of the program, said that the state has processed more than 300 fingerprint-based background checks in the first two weeks of operation.

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