It's Time for Georgia to Say Yes to Tougher Long Term Care Background Checks

Legislation pending in the Georgia legislature requiring employee background checks for all long term care operators would put the peach state in line with other surrounding states.

The Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform issued an 82 page annual report and it is crystal clear that this legislation is needed to keep our senior citizens safe by strengthening protections. The Council has 15 members and consists of an impressive team of Supreme Court Justices, Judges, Sheriff's, District Attorney's, Public Defender's, legislator's and other legal professionals.

We agree with the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform and with Georgia's growing senior population, we think the "Georgia Long Term Care Background Check Program" is an excellent measure and comes at the appropriate time. Senate Bill (SB) 406 gives Georgia the tools to help keep our seniors out of harms way. Who could ever stand against protecting our elder population? The broad based legislation requires comprehensive background checks for assisted living communities, nursing homes, hospice providers, home health providers, adult day care facilities, personal care and immediate care homes. The only exemption to the law are passive investors who do not actively participate in the operation of facilities.

According to McKnight's Senior Living perspective, the state currently uses a name based system to review applicants to see if they have been convicted of a crime in Georgia. With SB 406, Georgia is stepping up their game where employers would be required to submit fingerprints to the FBI database in addition to searching state and national databases of criminal records. This comprehensive approach should greatly enhance efforts to provide safety for our seniors. The legislation goes a step further requiring facilities to search the nurse aide registry, the state sexual offender registry and other registries. Facilities would not be permitted to employ anyone against whom there is a substantiated finding of neglect, abuse or misappropriation of property or whose license is not in good standing.

We believe this law is long overdue and is crucial to give our senior citizens and families the peace of mind they deserve. It is simply a calling for those who care for our senior citizens and we are so grateful for our caregivers, but this law provides additional comfort to seniors ensuring they will be in a safe environment. We urge our Georgia lawmakers to think about our vulnerable .


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