Georgia Implements A Tougher Eldercare Screening Law

July 24, 2018
As of October 1 2019, people who work at GA facilities that provide care for senior citizens will be required to pass a comprehensive background check.
Backgrounds Online | July 24, 2018

As of October 1 2019, people who work at GA facilities that provide care for senior citizens will be required to pass a comprehensive background check.

About The Eldercare Law

The law, which is known as the “Georgia Long-Term Care Background Check Program”, was signed by Governor Nathan Deal. It requires existing and potential employees of GA-based eldercare facilities to authorize and pass a background screening if they have routine contact with patients or access to financial data. It also requires individuals who own those facilities to be screened if they actively participate in operations. The intent is to promote better living conditions for the elderly.

Vernon Keenan, Director at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, is concerned about the possibility of elderly abuse. He referred to it as an “iceberg crime” because only a small part of the criminal activity is typically visible. Keenan feels this type of crime and abuse often remains hidden to everyone except the victim.

Georgia currently has some background check laws in place, but they were not considered thorough enough. This new law updates and expands the scope of existing policies. It stipulates that background screening regulations apply to owners, employees and job seekers at:

· Assisted living communities
· Personal care homes
· Home health agencies
· Private home care providers
· Hospice facilities
· Nursing homes
· Skilled nursing facilities
· Intermediate care homes
· Adult day care facilities that are licensed pursuant to Georgia Department of Community Health regulations

About The Background Check

The background screening process will include searches of:

· Georgia's nurse aide registry
· The state’s sexual offender registry
· The federal List of Excluded Individuals and Entities

If the person being screened has not lived in Georgia for two full years, then the scope of the background investigation will be expanded to include a registry check where the individual previously resided. Facilities that provide eldercare will not be allowed to employ or contract individuals who do not pass their background screening. Reasons for not passing include:

· Appearing on a registry check
· Being convicted of neglect, abuse or misappropriation of property
· Not having a valid and current license
· Being declared unsatisfactory for employment by the Georgia Department of Community Health

Caregiver Registry

The new law also calls for the creation of a public caregiver registry. This will be a database from which people can view the results of background checks that were run on individuals who provide care to senior citizens. By accessing this registry, people will be able to see if a caregiver was deemed satisfactory for ownership of or employment at an eldercare facility.

Takeaway For Employers

Georgia-based employers that run eldercare facilities should be aware of this new law. It goes into effect on October 1, 2019. This gives ample time for employers to prepare for compliance

Georgia is taking proactive steps towards protecting their senior citizen population. By implementing this law, the state is helping to ensure that everyone who has a role in caring for the elderly is licensed, eligible and approved to work at care-based facilities.

Is your business being proactive and performing due diligence to create safe workplaces and protect the people you serve? Running background checks is a great way to demonstrate that you are actively working towards these crucial goals. If you have questions about your screening policies or would like to discuss creating background check packages that are perfectly tailored for your industry, please contact us today. Our highly experienced team is available to assist you via phone, email or chat.