According to a recently released report entitled “Dangerous Caregivers”, the State of California failed to implement a 2006 law that required state regulators to establish a centralized database for background checks that could prevent potential nursing home and neglect. Senate Bill 1759 required the Department of Social Services to set up a centralized database of negative administrative actions, such as license revocations. The database would have enabled six state entities that license and regulate caregivers to check each other’s records before clearing applicants for hire. The excuse? Reportedly, the department did not seek the estimated $500,000 funding needed due to budget problems in California.
An investigation into the Office of Oversight and Outcomes exposed a minimum of twenty cases in which caregivers who were decertified due to misconduct were allowed to work in another state-licensed facility. Some of the cases discovered included:
A worker was decertified for slapping a defenseless 83 year old nursing home resident and pulling her hair because the resident struggled with her while changing her diaper. One month later, the same worker was cleared to work at another elderly residential care facility. The employee told the oversight office that no one had asked her about her previous incident.
A pharmacy tech was stripped of her registration in 2007 after she reportedly stole 11,000 tables of a prescription painkiller to give to her husband, who was disabled. The theft occurred over a period of seven years. Two years after her discipline, she was cleared to work in an assisted-living facility.
A nurse assistant was decertified after stealing a blind resident’s ATM and withdrawing money. While she was fired from her position as a nurse assistant, she was later allowed to work in the same facility’s kitchen. She has quit that position but remains on the clearance list for employment with the elderly.