View all text of Part A [§ 1301 - § 1320b-25]

§ 1320a–7l. Nationwide program for national and State background checks on direct patient access employees of long-term care facilities and providers
(a) In generalThe Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this section referred to as the “Secretary”), shall establish a program to identify efficient, effective, and economical procedures for long term care facilities or providers to conduct background checks on prospective direct patient access employees on a nationwide basis (in this subsection, such program shall be referred to as the “nationwide program”). Except for the following modifications, the Secretary shall carry out the nationwide program under similar terms and conditions as the pilot program under section 307 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (Public Law 108–173; 117 Stat. 2257), including the prohibition on hiring abusive workers and the authorization of the imposition of penalties by a participating State under subsection (b)(3)(A) and (b)(6), respectively, of such section 307:
(1) Agreements
(A) Newly participating StatesThe Secretary shall enter into agreements with each State—
(i) that the Secretary has not entered into an agreement with under subsection (c)(1) of such section 307;
(ii) that agrees to conduct background checks under the nationwide program on a Statewide basis; and
(iii) that submits an application to the Secretary containing such information and at such time as the Secretary may specify.
(B) Certain previously participating StatesThe Secretary shall enter into agreements with each State—
(i) that the Secretary has entered into an agreement with under such subsection (c)(1), but only in the case where such agreement did not require the State to conduct background checks under the program established under subsection (a) of such section 307 on a Statewide basis;
(ii) that agrees to conduct background checks under the nationwide program on a Statewide basis; and
(iii) that submits an application to the Secretary containing such information and at such time as the Secretary may specify.
(2) Nonapplication of selection criteria

The selection criteria required under subsection (c)(3)(B) of such section 307 shall not apply.

(3) Required fingerprint check as part of criminal history background checkThe procedures established under subsection (b)(1) of such section 307 shall—
(A) require that the long-term care facility or provider (or the designated agent of the long-term care facility or provider) obtain State and national criminal history background checks on the prospective employee through such means as the Secretary determines appropriate, efficient, and effective that utilize a search of State-based abuse and neglect registries and databases, including the abuse and neglect registries of another State in the case where a prospective employee previously resided in that State, State criminal history records, the records of any proceedings in the State that may contain disqualifying information about prospective employees (such as proceedings conducted by State professional licensing and disciplinary boards and State Medicaid Fraud Control Units), and Federal criminal history records, including a fingerprint check using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System of the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
(B) require States to describe and test methods that reduce duplicative fingerprinting, including providing for the development of “rap back” capability by the State such that, if a direct patient access employee of a long-term care facility or provider is convicted of a crime following the initial criminal history background check conducted with respect to such employee, and the employee’s fingerprints match the prints on file with the State law enforcement department, the department will immediately inform the State and the State will immediately inform the long-term care facility or provider which employs the direct patient access employee of such conviction; and
(C) require that criminal history background checks conducted under the nationwide program remain valid for a period of time specified by the Secretary.
(4) State requirementsAn agreement entered into under paragraph (1) shall require that a participating State—
(A) be responsible for monitoring compliance with the requirements of the nationwide program;
(B) have procedures in place to—
(i) conduct screening and criminal history background checks under the nationwide program in accordance with the requirements of this section;
(ii) monitor compliance by long-term care facilities and providers with the procedures and requirements of the nationwide program;
(iii) as appropriate, provide for a provisional period of employment by a long-term care facility or provider of a direct patient access employee, not to exceed 60 days, pending completion of the required criminal history background check and, in the case where the employee has appealed the results of such background check, pending completion of the appeals process, during which the employee shall be subject to direct on-site supervision (in accordance with procedures established by the State to ensure that a long-term care facility or provider furnishes such direct on-site supervision);
(iv) provide an independent process by which a provisional employee or an employee may appeal or dispute the accuracy of the information obtained in a background check performed under the nationwide program, including the specification of criteria for appeals for direct patient access employees found to have disqualifying information which shall include consideration of the passage of time, extenuating circumstances, demonstration of rehabilitation, and relevancy of the particular disqualifying information with respect to the current employment of the individual;
(v) provide for the designation of a single State agency as responsible for—(I) overseeing the coordination of any State and national criminal history background checks requested by a long-term care facility or provider (or the designated agent of the long-term care facility or provider) utilizing a search of State and Federal criminal history records, including a fingerprint check of s(II) overseeing the design of appropriate privacy and security safeguards for use in the review of the results of any State or national criminal history background checks conducted regarding a prospective direct patient access employee to determine whether the employee has any conviction for a relevant crime;(III) immediately reporting to the long-term care facility or provider that requested the criminal history background check the results of such review; and(IV) in the case of an employee with a conviction for a relevant crime that is subject to reporting under section 1128E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a–7e), reporting the existence of such conviction to the database established under that section;
(vi) determine which individuals are direct patient access employees (as defined in paragraph (6)(B)) for purposes of the nationwide program;
(vii) as appropriate, specify offenses, including convictions for violent crimes, for purposes of the nationwide program; and
(viii) describe and test methods that reduce duplicative fingerprinting, including providing for the development of “rap back” capability such that, if a direct patient access employee of a long-term care facility or provider is convicted of a crime following the initial criminal history background check conducted with respect to such employee, and the employee’s fingerprints match the prints on file with the State law enforcement department—(I) the department will immediately inform the State agency designated under clause (v) and such agency will immediately inform the facility or provider which employs the direct patient access employee of such conviction; and(II) the State will provide, or will require the facility to provide, to the employee a copy of the results of the criminal history background check conducted with respect to the employee at no charge in the case where the individual requests such a copy.
(5) Payments
(A) Newly participating States
(i) In general

As part of the application submitted by a State under paragraph (1)(A)(iii), the State shall guarantee, with respect to the costs to be incurred by the State in carrying out the nationwide program, that the State will make available (directly or through donations from public or private entities) a particular amount of non-Federal contributions, as a condition of receiving the Federal match under clause (ii).

(ii) Federal match

The payment amount to each State that the Secretary enters into an agreement with under paragraph (1)(A) shall be 3 times the amount that the State guarantees to make available under clause (i), except that in no case may the payment amount exceed $3,000,000.

(B) Previously participating States
(i) In general

As part of the application submitted by a State under paragraph (1)(B)(iii), the State shall guarantee, with respect to the costs to be incurred by the State in carrying out the nationwide program, that the State will make available (directly or through donations from public or private entities) a particular amount of non-Federal contributions, as a condition of receiving the Federal match under clause (ii).

(ii) Federal match

The payment amount to each State that the Secretary enters into an agreement with under paragraph (1)(B) shall be 3 times the amount that the State guarantees to make available under clause (i), except that in no case may the payment amount exceed $1,500,000.

(6) DefinitionsUnder the nationwide program:
(A) Conviction for a relevant crimeThe term “conviction for a relevant crime” means any Federal or State criminal conviction for—
(i) any offense described in section 1128(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a–7[(a)]); or
(ii) such other types of offenses as a participating State may specify for purposes of conducting the program in such State.
(B) Disqualifying information

The term “disqualifying information” means a conviction for a relevant crime or a finding of patient or resident abuse.

(C) Finding of patient or resident abuseThe term “finding of patient or resident abuse” means any substantiated finding by a State agency under section 1819(g)(1)(C) or 1919(g)(1)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i–3(g)(1)(C), 1396r(g)(1)(C)) or a Federal agency that a direct patient access employee has committed—
(i) an act of patient or resident abuse or neglect or a misappropriation of patient or resident property; or
(ii) such other types of acts as a participating State may specify for purposes of conducting the program in such State.
(D) Direct patient access employee

The term “direct patient access employee” means any individual who has access to a patient or resident of a long-term care facility or provider through employment or through a contract with such facility or provider and has duties that involve (or may involve) one-on-one contact with a patient or resident of the facility or provider, as determined by the State for purposes of the nationwide program. Such term does not include a volunteer unless the volunteer has duties that are equivalent to the duties of a direct patient access employee and those duties involve (or may involve) one-on-one contact with a patient or resident of the long-term care facility or provider.

(E) Long-term care facility or providerThe term “long-term care facility or provider” means the following facilities or providers which receive payment for services under title XVIII or XIX of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq., 1396 et seq.]:
(i) A skilled nursing facility (as defined in section 1819(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i–3(a))).
(ii) A nursing facility (as defined in section 1919(a) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396r(a))).
(iii) A home health agency.
(iv) A provider of hospice care (as defined in section 1861(dd)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x(dd)(1))).
(v) A long-term care hospital (as described in section 1886(d)(1)(B)(iv) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(1)(B)(iv))).
(vi) A provider of personal care services.
(vii) A provider of adult day care.
(viii) A residential care provider that arranges for, or directly provides, long-term care services, including an assisted living facility that provides a level of care established by the Secretary.
(ix) An intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded (as defined in section 1905(d) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(d))).
(x) Any other facility or provider of long-term care services under such titles as the participating State determines appropriate.
(7) Evaluation and report
(A) Evaluation
(i) In general

The Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services shall conduct an evaluation of the nationwide program.

(ii) Inclusion of specific topicsThe evaluation conducted under clause (i) shall include the following:(I) A review of the various procedures implemented by participating States for long-term care facilities or providers, including staffing agencies, to conduct background checks of direct patient access employees under the nationwide program and identification of the most appropriate, efficient, and effective procedures for conducting such background checks.(II) An assessment of the costs of conducting such background checks (including start up and administrative costs).(III) A determination of the extent to which conducting such background checks leads to any unintended consequences, including a reduction in the available workforce for long-term care facilities or providers.(IV) An assessment of the impact of the nationwide program on reducing the number of incidents of neglect, abuse, and misappropriation of resident property to the extent practicable.(V) An evaluation of other aspects of the nationwide program, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
(B) Report

Not later than 180 days after the completion of the nationwide program, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services shall submit a report to Congress containing the results of the evaluation conducted under subparagraph (A).

(b) Funding
(1) Notification

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall notify the Secretary of the Treasury of the amount necessary to carry out the nationwide program under this section for the period of fiscal years 2010 through 2012, except that in no case shall such amount exceed $160,000,000.

(2) Transfer of funds
(A) In general

Out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide for the transfer to the Secretary of Health and Human Services of the amount specified as necessary to carry out the nationwide program under paragraph (1). Such amount shall remain available until expended.

(B) Reservation of funds for conduct of evaluation

The Secretary may reserve not more than $3,000,000 of the amount transferred under subparagraph (A) to provide for the conduct of the evaluation under subsection (a)(7)(A).

(Pub. L. 111–148, title VI, § 6201, Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 721.)