Iowa Lawmakers Re-Evaluate Background Checks for Nursing Home Workers

By Michael Klazema on 2/20/2012

In the state of Iowa, the law that requires nursing home workers to go through background checks is fourteen years old and many believe these requirements are outdated and need an update. A new bill has been introduced into legislation that would alter the way that background checks are done on nursing home employees. These new changes are supported by both state regulators as well as by the nursing home industry.

Currently the background check done on new nursing home workers only takes a few seconds and is simply an initial search for records. If there are no matches for felonies, certain misdemeanors or abuse, the job applicant can be hired at that time. If there is a match during the few seconds that the background check is going on, the applicant will go through a more stringent process where it will be determined how serious the previous crimes are and if these crimes would be detrimental to the position or would lead to putting patients in danger.

Though this background check system is thorough, each time a person switches agencies or gets a new position, they must go through the background check again, including the extra work if any crimes are found. This wastes a lot of time and money as it is estimated that about 22% of all applicants need to go through the second background check. Lawmakers in the state believe that eliminating the second check and focusing on automatic elimination on some results would be a more efficient process when checking the backgrounds of potential hires.

Another way to streamline the hiring process would be to partner with a third party background check company like Due to the enormous volume of searches they perform they have already perfected the re-verification process of instant searches that result in hits and brought the research time down to just a few days instead of a weeklong process. During that re-verification can also apply standardized grading criteria so that offenses that would NOT lead an applicant to be barred from working in an Iowa care facility would be removed. That way the nursing homes would know that in the final reports they would only be looking at criminal records that according to predefined criteria would typically lead the nursing home to bar the applicant. Saving the nursing home time and ensuring the consistent application of screening standards within and across nursing homes in the state of Iowa.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


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