This week, members of the U.S. Senate will consider a bill that will establish a nationwide system of background checks for individuals who apply for jobs at long-term care facilities, The Daily Times (Farmington, New Mexico) reported today. If passed, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act would allow nursing homes to choose not to hire potentially abusive caregivers based on a coordinated system of checks against abuse and neglect registries, state police records and the FBI national database of criminal history records.
The Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act is sponsored by New Mexico’s senior senator, Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis.
This process could greatly reduce the number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases that plague the long-term care industry. These are tragedies we hear about daily in the news, like the report two days ago of the Jacksonville, Ill., woman suing her father’s nursing home for his wrongful death just 19 days after he was admitted; or the painfully sad story last month of the four nursing home aides in Minnesota who taunted and molested 15 residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia simply to “get a good laugh.”
“This bill is an important step in providing the safeguards needed to prevent abuse and mistreatment by those who care for our elderly and disabled,” Sen. Domenici was quoted as saying in The Daily Times. “I hope the Senate will pass it during this legislative session.”