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New Administrative Rules for Ohio Home Health Agencies

By Michael Klazema on 12/31/2012

New administrative rules proposed by the Ohio Department of Health relating to criminal background checks of employees and prospective employees of home health agencies become effective January 1, 2013.

The new rules make it mandatory that a criminal records check be conducted on any applicant for a position providing direct care and on an employee who provides direct care for a home health agency, including:

  1. a person who is paid directly by the home health agency;
  2. a person who contracts as an independent contractor to provide direct care on behalf of the home health agency;
  3. a person who provides direct care on behalf of a home health agency pursuant to a contract between the home health agency and another business entity; and,
  4. a person referred to the home health agency by an employment service or staffing pool.

“Direct care” includes skilled nursing case, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, medical social services, and home health aide services provided in a patient’s home.

Prior to conducting a criminal records check, the home health agency must conduct a check of the following databases:

  1. The “System for Award Management” maintained by the United States general services administration, available at http://www.sam.gov/;
  2. The list of excluded individuals and entities maintained by the office of inspector general in the United States department of health and human services, available at http://exclusions.oig.hhs.gov/;
  3. The registry of employees guilty of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation maintained by the Ohio department of developmental disabilities, available at https://its.prodapps.dodd.ohio.gov/ABR_Default.aspx;
  4. The sex offender and child-victim database maintained by the Ohio attorney general, available at http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=55149&disc=;
  5. The database of inmates maintained by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, available at http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=55149&disc=;
  6. The Ohio nurse aide registry, maintained by the Ohio department of health, available at https://odhgateway.odh.ohio.gov/nar/nar_registry_search.aspx. If the applicant does not present proof of having lived in Ohio in the preceding five-year period, a review of the nurse aide registry in the state or states in which the applicant lived must be conducted.

A home health agency is prohibited from employing a person in a position involving direct care if there is any “disqualifying information” revealed in the review of the listed databases.  “Disqualifying offenses” are too numerous to list here, but can be viewed at Ohio Administrative Code 3701-60-06, using the link below. The rules provide for a tiered exclusionary period system based on the offense committed.

Home Health Agencies must conduct criminal background checks on current employees hired (1) prior to January 1, 2008, no later than thirty days after the anniversary of the employee’s hire date, and (2) on and after January 1, 2008, no later than thirty days after the fifth anniversary of the employee’s hire date, and at least once every five years thereafter.

Home Health Agencies are required to give notice to the applicant that a criminal records check will be conducted and that he or she will be required to provide a set of fingerprint impressions if the individual is consideration for employment.  In the case of an existing employee, agencies must give notice that a criminal records check will be conducted as a condition of continued employment.

The new Administrative Rules, 3701-60-01 through 3701-60-09, are available: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/rules/recentfinalrules.aspx

If you have any questions, please contact client services.

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