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Report Finds Convicted Criminals Working in 90 Percent of Nursing Homes

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on March 2, 2011

CBS News recently reported on a government finding revealing that nine in ten nursing homes in the U.S. employ people with criminal convictions. Investigators conducting the report ran background checks on workers employed at more than 260 nursing homes across the U.S. and found that 92 percent of the facilities had at least one worker on the payroll that had a criminal conviction in the past. This report stunned Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham and is a source of concern for all nursing home attorneys in Florida given the percentage of senior citizens living in our state.

The Inspector General for Health and Human Services issued the report and said that nearly half of the nursing homes investigated for the study had “five or more individuals” with criminal backgrounds on the payroll. Workers had been convicted of a wide rage of criminal offenses including check fraud, burglary, shoplifting and property crimes. In at least seven instances, workers had convictions of sex offenses. While 43 states require nursing homes to conduct criminal background checks on prospective employees, only ten states require an additional FBI criminal check that could discover criminal convictions in others states.

Janet Wells, Director of Public Policy for the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care was quite concerned with the report’s findings. She said, “On its face, it’s shocking. People move from state to state and they may have an abuse record at another health care facility, that’s why we would prefer to see a national mandatory program.”

Recent healthcare legislation created a national program that would standardize state and federal background checks for nursing home employees who provide care for residents, but each state can choose whether to participate in the program. Ten states, including Florida, have received federal funds to pay for implementation of the program in which the federal government covers the costs of the background checks.

It is unfathomable to most of us that a nursing home employee, or anyone else, would abuse residents, but the sad fact of the matter is that nursing home abuse occurs every day in Florida and other states. When it is discovered, victims and their families need an aggressive, experienced Orlando personal injury attorney to protect their rights, answer their questions and help them get the compensation they need to move to a better facility. It is everyone’s responsibility to report nursing home abuse whenever he or she suspects it. If you or a close family member has been a victim of abuse, call James O. Cunningham today at 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000 to schedule a free consultation.

James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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