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Anthony Cirillo

Fifth of Nursing Aides Charged with Abuse Had Priors

By December 21, 2012

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According to the Office of the Inspector general, almost a fifth of nursing aides charged with abuse and neglect had prior convictions.

Nineteen percent of long-term care nursing aides who were found guilty of on-the-job abuse, neglect, or property theft in 2010 had prior criminal convictions.

Overall, the 300 nurse aides with criminal convictions before their substantiated findings had a total of 622 convictions. The number of convictions per nurse aide ranged from 1 to 14, averaging 2.1 convictions per nurse aide.

An Affordable Care Act (ACA)-mandated analysis of skilled nursing facility background checks for nursing aides found that, out of the 1,611 nursing aides charged with abuse, neglect, or property theft in 2010, 300 had at least one prior criminal convictions, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector.

The most common prior conviction (53%) was for crimes such as burglary, shoplifting and writing bad checks. Additionally, "nurse aides with substantiated findings of either abuse or neglect were 3.2 times more likely to have a conviction of crime against persons than nurse aides with substantiated findings of misappropriation," the report stated.

One reason for the mandated report is to assess the ability of the background check program to reduce the number of incidents of neglect, abuse and misappropriation of resident property. The report contained no recommendations by the OIG.

The ACA establishes requirements for the background check programs that participating States must implement. States are required to conduct three types of background checks: (1) a search of any State-based abuse and neglect registries and databases, and the abuse and neglect registries of all known States in which the employee lived; (2) a check of State criminal history records; and (3) a fingerprint-based FBI criminal history records check.

The full report shows that works need to be done in hiring and staffing when the lives of our older adults are at stake.

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