Screening of Employees

Lewis Morris, Chief Counsel to the U.S. Inspector General, recently testified before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives on the topic: “In the Hands of Strangers: Are Nursing Home Safeguards Working?” Reading between the lines of his testimony, nursing homes should expect employee screening to be a major focus area on their next survey.

  • Screen all staff and prospective staff against the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. Screening staff against the LEIE helps ensure that a nursing home does not employ an excluded person and that it does not bill federal health care programs for an excluded person’s work.
  • Screen prospective nurse aides and other non-licensed care staff through the use of the state nurse aide registries. Federal regulations prohibit facilities from employing individuals in certain positions who have been found guilty of certain offenses or who have had findings entered into the registry for abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents or misappropriation of their property.
  • Check the registries in other states. Most facilities check their home state’s nurse aide registries prior to employing an individual. They do not routinely check the registries in other states, but you should do so if an individual may have worked elsewhere.

Voluntary Compliance Programs

The OIG is currently soliciting public comments on draft Compliance Program Guidances. This new draft focuses on key areas that surveyors will be looking at:

  • Inadequate staffing.
  • Poor care plan development.
  • Inappropriate use of psychotropic medications.
  • Lack of Proper medication management.
  • Resident neglect and abuse.

The proposed draft should be studied for potential improvement in these areas.