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From Health Law Daily, October 3, 2017

Final solicitation for participation in National Background Check Program issued

By Harold Bishop, J.D.

CMS has issued its ninth and final solicitation to all State Survey Agency Directors that the deadline for states to submit an application for the National Background Check Program (NBCP) will be December 15, 2017 (CMS Letter, S&C 17-47-ALL, September 29, 2017).

Section 6201 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) established the National Background Check Program (NBCP). Under the program, HHS was required to establish a program to identify efficient, effective, and economical procedures for long term care (LTC) facilities or providers to conduct background checks on prospective direct patient access employees on a nationwide basis, including the prohibition on hiring abusive workers and the authorization of the imposition of penalties by a participating state.

The NBCP is intended to assist states and territories that desire to institute or upgrade their systems of employee background checks to include checks of all pertinent registry sources in all states in which a potential employee has lived, to check state and federal criminal records, and to use the FBI fingerprinting. The goal of the NBCP is to prohibit the hiring of employees who have histories of abuse or relevant criminal violations to serve the vulnerable LTC care population.

Federal matching funds are available to all states and territories that meet the requirements described in section 6201 of the ACA and that provide an application that is scored at 70.2 out of a possible 101 points by the federal review panel. CMS has awarded a technical support contract to support the states that are selected to participate in the program. In order to participate in the NBCP, a state must guarantee that it will make available non-federal funds to cover a portion of the cost to be incurred by the state to carry out the program in their state.

The NBCP is evaluated by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG). On January 19, 2016, the OIG found that most states receiving grants to fund the implementation of a NBCP for LTC employees failed to achieve significant implementation. The OIG reviewed reports submitted by each of the 25 participating states and found that only six states submitted sufficient data to CMS to calculate the percentage of employees disqualified (see OIG flies red flag over state background check programs, January 21, 2016).

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