New background check requirements improve client safety, ease burden on providers

Friday, April 26, 2013

On January 1, new background check requirements went into effect designed to close loopholes that will increase the safety of Ohioans who receive direct care services, including those who receive some in-home care services. The new rules apply to certain home and community-based care providers who deliver services through programs managed by four state departments: the Department of Aging, Health Department, Job and Family Services, and Developmental Disabilities.

For Council on Aging providers, the new rules apply to services delivered through PASSPORT, the Assisted Living Waiver, Title III, and Elderly Services Programs. Click here for more information about how the rules affect Council on Aging service providers.

By creating a uniform list of disqualifying offenses, the new rules will also ease the burden on businesses that often deliver services for all of the affected departments and previously had to follow different background check requirements for each.

The rules are also expected to increase job opportunities for Ohioans who`ve committed certain types of criminal offenses but are no longer considered a danger.

The new rules:

  • Expand the definition of a direct care recipient from "older adult" to "patient."
  • Change the definition of "direct care" to include ombudsman services, skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, medical social services, and home health aide services provided in a patient`s home. Additionally, the rule includes any activity that requires the person performing the activity to be routinely alone with the patient or have access to the patient`s personal or financial documents.
  • Expand the list of offenses that would disqualify someone from being hired for a direct care position from 55 to 130. Examples of expanded disqualifying offenses include animal cruelty, terrorism, patient endangerment, human trafficking, drug offenses, and arson.
  • Require providers to search for job candidates in six free databases prior to conducting a criminal background check. If a candidate or employee appears unfavorably on any of these databases, no criminal background check is required and a provider may not employ or continue to employ the individual. Click here for a list and links to the free databases.
  • With a few exceptions, require providers to conduct background checks on all employees in direct care positions every five years.
  • Provides a tiered exclusionary period for people with applicable offenses who are seeking employment in a direct care position. The exclusionary period varies based on the offense committed. A provider may not employ or continue to employ an individual providing direct care who committed or pled guilty to an offense spelled out under each time period. 

For more information:

Council on Aging Providers

Ohio Department of Aging Background Check Rules FAQ