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House of Representatives Approves Attorney General Kilmartin's Bill Requiring National Background Checks for Employees in Long-Term Healthcare Facilities

The Rhode Island House of Representatives today passed H7413, sponsored by Representative Eileen S. Naughton (D-District 21, Warwick) on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, requiring national criminal records check for all persons applying to be a routine contact employee in a long term care facility or provider, as required under the Affordable Care Act.

In 2010, the Office of Attorney General and Department of Human Services sought and received a federal grant to update the State's national background check system to allow for "rap back" technology, which automatically sends a notification of a conviction for a disqualifying offense of an individual employed in a long-term healthcare facility.

The current national background check system offers merely a snapshot in time and does not provide updates to employers who may commit a felony after they have been hired. The "rap back" system is cutting edge technology that provides continual monitoring of an individual's criminal history, therefore, providing greater protection to our State's most vulnerable.

"This legislation would be a valuable resource towards the safety of our citizens who rely on long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, adult day care facilities and state hospice. Rhode Island is such a transient state it is essential to conduct a national criminal records check to ensure the safety of our communities most vulnerable. This new system would be more efficient and cost effective for employers and applicants," said Attorney General Kilmartin.

"My hope is that Rhode Island can one day claim that it hosts some of the best adult care in the nation," said Rep. Naughton, prime sponsor of the House bill. "In order for us to succeed in offering our seniors the highest quality options, whether that be a long-term facility or adult day care, the state must ensure that our elderly citizens are protected. With the help of the attorney general, we can work toward stamping out elderly abuse and cultivating a safe environment for generations of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on." The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a companion bill, S2652, last week sponsored by Senator Frank Lombardi (D-District 26, Cranston).

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