COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio officials plan to bolster criminal background checks for those home health-care workers who provide direct care to the disabled and elderly.
The state has received a $2.1 million federal grant to provide increased reviews for more than 100,000 workers who serve patients in Medicaid- and Medicare-funded settings.
Gov. John Kasich's administration said last week that Ohio also will provide $700,000 in state funds to improve background checks.
The money will help the state to extend the use of the attorney general's fingerprint database to direct-care providers.
Currently, workers receive a background check prior to being hired by their employers. As of January, the state instituted rules requiring post-hiring checks at least every five years.
State officials say the electronic system, known as the attorney general's Retained Applicant Fingerprint Database Information Exchange, will make post-hiring background checks timelier and less burdensome.
Plus, they say, it will improve the safety of those patients who receive Medicaid or Medicare services in their own home or other community-based setting.
"It is important that seniors and people with disabilities can trust the service providers that come into their homes, and this program will ensure that home-based services are of the highest quality," said Greg Moody, the director of the governor's Office of Health Transformation.
Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office will be able to immediately notify employers of a worker's arrest or a conviction.
The system monitors and reports post-hiring convictions in real time, allowing offenders with disqualifying convictions to be removed from their jobs immediately.
It's yet to be determined when those automated check would start.