Criminal Acts by Professional Care Workers Highlight Widespread Hiring Concerns

Incidents in two states have put the spotlight on some of the current dangers enabled by hiring practices for healthcare support professionals.

In Texas, a report by the Dallas News revealed that a woman arrested in December on severe charges of child abuse had a problematic past. Working as a nurse, the woman was caught stealing and abusing drugs in two separate hospitals. The incidents ultimately led to the revocation of her professional nursing license—but not police intervention. With no interface between the licensing body's database of revocations and the state's criminal background database, the woman was able to pass background checks before ultimately harming children on the job. 

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Grace Deguia-Reed recently received a sentence of four to eight years in prison for bilking several elderly individuals under her care out of tens of thousands of dollars. With daily access to vulnerable seniors, Deguia-Reed cultivated feelings of friendship with her charges which she then used as an inroad for manipulation. 

According to the Reading Eagle, Deguia-Reed forged the official background check paperwork necessary for hiring with agencies handling placement for home healthcare, seeming to imply that the agencies do not conduct the checks themselves. By the time of her arrest and trial, her clients had experienced losses of more than $100,000 in total.

Neither of these incidents occurred in isolation. In fact, they are part of a broader trend affecting the healthcare industry. Last year, the Boston Globe identified a growing trend of elder abuse and financial fraud at the hands of home caregivers. Likewise, concerns surrounding daycare professionals exist around the country, with tragic stories often making headlines. For families looking for professional and affordable support, it can prove frustrating and challenging to know who is trustworthy and who poses a risk.

Only 17 states mandate background checks for in-home care professionals, and patchwork policies from state to state may allow someone to simply relocate and continue working elsewhere without detection. While daycares are ostensibly subject to rigorous rules and regulations, many home caregivers work on an independent basis. 

Ultimately, one of the keys to safe hiring is more versatile background checks. Going the extra mile can help make a difference regarding who companies or families decide is trustworthy.

For those who require professional help, taking a proactive stance towards vetting prospective candidates can be in your best interest. Avoid accepting someone's claims at face value and instead seek to verify their suitability with tools such as those available through 

Services including our professional license verification, alias checks, and the nationwide US OneSEARCH can all prove valuable in your search. Take matters into your own hands to protect businesses, clients, and families and find safe professionals to hire.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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