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October 16, 2010

Indiana May Seek Background Checks For Nursing Home Workers (USA)

Indiana May Seek Background Checks For Nursing Home Workers
Attorney General's legislative proposals include new safeguards for nursing home residents
BY Mark Huffman        
ConsumerAffairs.com
October 14, 2010

Early next year, Indiana lawmakers will consider a proposal to require workers in nursing homes to undergo background checks, in an effort to provide better protection for vulnerable elderly residents.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he will also propose that the legislature make additional changes in state law to provide whistleblowers with legal protections. More broadly, Zoeller has asked an oversight panel that reviews licensing agencies to focus its scrutiny on the Indiana Health Facility Administrator (HFA) Board, the body that has disciplinary power over nursing home administrators.
"The HFA Board writes the licensing rules for nursing home administrators and the board acts as judge and jury to decide whether or not those rules were violated," Zoeller said.  "We have an opportunity through this evaluation committee to thoroughly examine the rule-enforcing process by the group of experts the Legislature created for that purpose, to determine if it is adequate to hold these licensees accountable for violations within the facility that occur on their watch."
Abuse toll
 According to the best available estimates, between one and two million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse Resource, an advocacy group, says 30 percent of nursing home facilities in the U.S. are cited for instances of abuse. The group maintains that the majority of all nursing home abuse incidents are never reported.


Abridged
SOURCE:    Consumers Affairs.Com

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