While there is no federal law that requires home health agencies (HHAs) to conduct background checks before hiring individuals or periodically after they are hired, organizations that want to participate in Medicare must comply with their state laws.
State requirements for background checks vary by the source of information checked, which job positions are covered, and which convictions prohibit employment.
Background check requirements in Iowa
Iowa statute (135C.33) requires that prospective employees undergo a state and federal background check for criminal convictions and abuse incidences. This check applies to all prospective employees who provide direct services to consumers and who are employed by an agency regulated or funded by the state that provides any of the following services:
- Home health aide.
- Home-care aide.
- Adult day services.
- Other in-home services.
- Hospice care.
- Home and community-based services provided under a waiver program.
Also subject to the check are employees who provide direct services to consumers in elder group homes (certified under Iowa Code 231B) or assisted living facilities (certified under Iowa Code 231C). This process has no exceptions (volunteers also must submit to a check).
Iowa background check requirements prior to employment
According to the Statute, before employment, the facility or provider must do one of the following:
(1) Request that the department of public safety performs a criminal history check and the department of human services perform child and dependent adult abuse record checks of the person in this state.
(2) Access the single contact repository to perform the required record checks (SING).
What is the SING System?
The Single Contact Repository (SING) provides online access to Iowa Criminal History and Sex Offender Registry information held by the Department of Public Safety/Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Department of Human Services (DHS) Central Abuse Registry for Child Abuse (CA) and Dependent Adult Abuse (DAA), as well as Professional License information.
The SING system gathers information from:
- Sex Offender Registry.
- Child Abuse.
- Dependent Adult Abuse.
- Criminal History.
What about provisional hiring in Iowa?
On June 1, 2020, Senate File 2299 was signed that amended the background check requirements for health facilities in Iowa.
Per Senate File 2299:
The facility or provider may provisionally employ a person before completion of the required record check and evaluation by the department of human services, as applicable, subject to all of the following:
- The facility shall have accessed SING to perform the required record check and be awaiting results from SING or awaiting evaluation by the department of human services, as applicable.
- If applicable, the facility shall request an evaluation by the department of human services within 30 days of receipt of the SING record check results.
- The facility shall have utilized an approved third-party vendor to perform a comprehensive preliminary background check.
- The comprehensive preliminary background check shall have determined that the person being considered for employment does not have a record of founded child abuse or dependent adult abuse, or if the person being considered for employment does have a record of founded child abuse or dependent adult abuse, subrule 50.9(8) is applicable.
- And the provisional employment may continue until such time as the required record check through SING and evaluation by the department of human services, as applicable, are completed. (I, II, III).
What is a comprehensive preliminary background check?
Per the law, the comprehensive preliminary background check conducted by a third-party vendor must include a criminal history check of all the states the applicant has lived or worked in over the last seven years.
Approved Third-party vendors
Third-party vendors are vetted, approved, and provided to the department by statewide associations of healthcare facilities, programs, providers, hospitals.
Orange Tree has been vetted and approved by the DIA to conduct comprehensive preliminary background checks for provisional employment of employees for companies that are awaiting results from SING or awaiting evaluation by the department of human services, as applicable.
How Orange Tree can help
In addition to performing the required criminal history search required for health facilities in Iowa, Orange Tree can also perform supplemental searches that provide the information in the SING search. These searches include:
- Iowa Child Abuse and Dependent Adult Abuse Registries.
- Sex Offender Registry (includes Iowa sex offender registry).
- County/Statewide Criminal History Search (consists of the Iowa Statewide Criminal History Search that covers all counties.).
Orange Tree also provides healthcare-specific sanctions watch list such as:
- Office of Inspector General (OIG) /General Services Administration (GSA): identifies individuals who have committed fraud against Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded healthcare programs.
- Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS®): identifies individuals with sanctions and adverse actions taken in the healthcare field.
Our technology is easy to use for you and your candidates, which reduces your time-to-hire while creating an enhanced candidate experience. We provide a one stop solution for all the screening needs of health care companies. Our advanced technology allows for a single click order process for background screening, drug testing, and occupational health services.
Want to learn more about how our team can serve your organization? Schedule a call today.
The foregoing is not legal advice, express or implied. We recommend you seek the advice of your own legal counsel for all aspects of employment law.
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