Arizona Introduces Stricter Background Check Requirements for Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities

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Featured Arizona Introduces Stricter Background Check Requirements for Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities (1)

Arizona’s Governor, Doug Ducey, has recently signed legislation into law that will strengthen background checks for workers at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Senate Bill 1242, sponsored by Senator Tyler Pace, will enhance background checks required as a condition for licensure by the Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers (NCIA). This will most notably introduce fingerprinting requirements and prohibit those with certain felonies from receiving licenses to work in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

In the Governor’s announcement, he stated, “Our nursing homes and assisted living facilities deserve accountability and leadership from their supervisors.” “SB 1242 accomplishes this. Our seniors – grandmothers, grandfathers, and family members – deserve nothing less to ensure their safety, happiness, and health.”

Under Arizona’s Rev. Stat. § 36-411 as a condition of licensure for residential care institutions, nursing care institutions, and home health agencies, most employees and owners must receive valid fingerprint clearance cards. This same requirement also applies to “contracted persons or volunteers who provide medical services, nursing services, behavioral health services, health-related services, home health services or supportive services.” 

Employers would be required to ensure that such individuals received fingerprint clearance cards within twenty days of beginning employment or volunteering. Learn More

Now under SB 1242, in addition to the previous fingerprint clearance card requirements, applicants for work in any of the covered institutions will be required to submit a full set of fingerprints to the NCIA Board “for a state, and federal criminal history records check pursuant to Section 41-1750 and Public Law 92-544.” This is intended to strengthen the background checks performed on all applicants. 

Secondly, SB 1242 will prohibit those who have been convicted of felonies involving violence or financial fraud from receiving licensing to work in covered facilities. The new law adds definitions for crimes that constitute “violence or financial fraud.” Examples include “sexual assault,” “homicide,” “theft,” “forgery,” and “taking the identity of another person or entity.” In total, the new law introduces 46 new specific definitions for which an individual would be prohibited from receiving a fingerprint clearance card or licensure.

The new law will also require the NCIA Board to work with the Arizona Department of Health Services in order to devise an expedited process for referring and resolving complaints between the two agencies.

Given these new requirements, nursing care institutions, assisted living facilities, and other covered institutions should immediately review their existing hiring process and revise it to comply with these new requirements. Failure to comply may result in civil penalties administered by the NCIA Board.

Make sure your company policies are compliant with State law by reading up on fair chance hiring practices. Learn more by downloading our free resource on Adverse Action Notice Protocols in Compliance With FCRA.