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Ohio to Bolster Home Care Worker Background Checks

May 22, 2013

Ohio plans to spend $2.8 million in federal and state money to introduce an electronic fingerprint database that will help home care providers perform background checks on their workers.

The database, known as the Retained Applicant Fingerprint Database Information Exchange, will help employers comply with new state regulations on background checks.

The updated regulations, which took effect at the beginning of 2013, were designed to standardize home care worker background checks throughout the state.

In January, Eric Poklar, a spokesman for the state Office of Health Transformation, told the Columbus Dispatch, “There were a lot of gaps and inconsistencies. Certain crimes would be disqualifying in one system, but not in another.”

Additionally, the new regulations mandate that home care workers receive background checks every five years of their employment. Previously, prospective workers were subject to a one-time check before being hired.

The electronic fingerprint database allows employers to track workers in real time for any convictions that would disqualify them from employment.

The change will affect an estimated 100,000 home care workers who provide care for elders and people with disabilities in Medicaid- and Medicare-funded settings.

Ohio will use a $2.1 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help pay for the new fingerprint system. Governor John Kasich (R) has promised to spend an additional $700,000 in state money.

— by Matthew Ozga

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