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State mandates background check for some health care workers

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is launching a program that will mandate background checks for workers in the long-term health care field. The mandate will cover workers who are employed in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The purpose of the mandate is to reduce abuse in these facilities.

According to the DHH, the program is going to use web-based data banks at the state and national level. Workers will be screened to make sure they are not listed on data banks for either health care or sexual abuse. This means workers who have been accused or convicted of such activity in other states may not be able to work in long-term health care environments in West Virginia.

One reason the DHH is taking these steps is because the patient population in such facilities is especially at risk for abuse. Often, the patients in long-term care situations are not mentally or physically able to accuse abusers, so the abuse is left unchecked. The result can be serious physical or emotional injury to the patient via both employee inappropriate action or neglect.

While the mandate is a good step in keeping patients in these facilities safer, caregivers and families should still be aware of what is going on with their loved ones. Mistakes might still happen, and abusive workers might still get into the system.

When someone you love has been abused or neglected in such an environment, you might have legal options for seeking compensation. This is especially true if the abuse or injury has led to expenses such as increased medical care or losses such as pain and suffering.

Source: PreCheck, "West Virginia Begins Background Checks for Long-Term Healthcare Workers," Bryan Barajas, Aug. 25, 2015

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