CMS ANNOUNCES PILOT PROGRAM TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND QUALITY OF CARE IN LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., today announced a pilot program to evaluate comprehensive background check programs for new workers in long term care facilities as a way to combat abuse and neglect in such facilities.
“This new Medicare law enables us to take another step to assure the safety and quality of care that is provided to people living in nursing homes,” said Dr. McClellan. “This pilot program will give potential employers valuable tools to help them determine whether an applicant is the best person for the job.”
The program, mandated by the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), sets aside $25 million to fund the pilots and evaluate the results. The pilot programs will operate in up to 10 states and will run until the end of fiscal 2007.
The pilot programs 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 background that could make them unsuitable to work directly with patients. The programs also support the Bush administration’s goal of improving the quality of care provided in nursing homes and other such facilities.
Long-term care facilities and providers in participating states will include nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, long-term care hospitals, intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation, and other entities that provide long-term care services.
The background check for each prospective employee will include a check of state registries, such as the Nurse Aide Registry, as well as a search of state and criminal history records. CMS is working together with the Justice Department to implement this program.
All states are eligible to apply for grant funds and may use the money to implement a comprehensive background check program, or to improve upon their existing program. At least one state must also include patient abuse prevention training for managers and employees of long-term care facilities and providers as part of their program. CMS hopes to announce the pilot participants in the fall of 2004.
“We are also taking further steps to equip such workers with the proper training and other tools they need to be effective caregivers,” he added.
The solicitation notice for state applications was posted today by CMS. States can download the application forms at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicaid/survey-cert/bcp.asp Applications are due by September 30.
Questions about the background check program, can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.