September 27, 2011

Manchin, Rockefeller, Rahall Announce more than $1.2 Million for Background Checks on Health Care Providers

Washington, D.C. —U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, along with Representative Nick Rahall, (all D-W.Va.) today announced that the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will receive more than $1.2 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Program to conduct background checks on health care workers who are directly involved with patients.

The funding will identify efficient, effective and economical practices for long term care facilities and providers to conduct background checks on their employees or any individuals who have direct access to patient information. 

“Protecting our seniors and all patients is a bedrock American value that we have made sure to set as a priority for decades,” Senator Manchin said. “No patient – especially those who are most vulnerable – should be exposed to people with a criminal background. This grant makes sure that patients’ privacy is protected when dealing with health care providers and facilities.”  

“Patients and families entrust their lives and well-being to their health care providers,” said Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care.  “While most health care professionals have their patients’ best interests at heart, sadly there have also been instances of abuse and neglect that should never happen.  This award will help make sure West Virginians get safe and secure care when they need it.”

“Sick, injured, and chronically ill patients are vulnerable to abuse and neglect by those entrusted with their care,” said Rep. Rahall.  “We must be sure the integrity of all patient care providers is at the highest levels to protect the privacy of patients and their families, and to ensure patients are receiving the care and compassion they need and deserve.”

Eligible facilities and providers include skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice care providers, long-term care hospitals, personal care service providers, adult day care providers, residential care providers, assisted living facilities, intermediate facilities for the mentally disabled and other long-term care services approved by West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources.