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Convicted Criminals Become Employable by Nursing Homes
OKLAHOMA -- A new law takes effect November first allowing convicted criminals of offenses such as assault, battery and first degree robbery to work in nursing homes.
"There's always been some problems with just a blanket you can't work in a nursing home," said Rebecca Moore who helped write the bill as a member of the advisory board. Moore is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers.
The law changes what crimes would be considered barriers for employment in the nursing home industry. If seven years have passed since the completion of sentence for assault, battery, indecent exposure, or robbery, a nursing home may consider that individual for employment.
"There are folks out there who have rehabilitated themselves and should be given and should be given an opportunity," said James Joslin, Chief of Health Resources Development Service for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
However, convictions for rape, child abuse, murder or kidnapping would still be considered unemployable offenses. "There are some total exclusionary things that it doesn't matter," said Moore.
"The good news is we are expanding the background checks we'll be doing for all staff in our long-term care facilities, " said Joslin.
Rep. Jeannie McDaniel authored HB2582 with the intention of creating a fingerprinting system that could perform background checks on prospective nursing home employees using numerous national databases.
Before the bill, people who applied to work as a certified nurse aid were only subjected to an OSBI background check which doesn't look at crimes committed outside of Oklahoma.
"I think the fingerprinting will give us a better look at every single person working in a nursing home, " said Moore.
With the fingerprinting program, employers can look up applicants' history on national sex offender registries, child care restrictive registries as well as nurse aid registries. Joslin says if an applicant commits any crime inside or outside of Oklahoma especially involving long-term care facilities, the check will pick up on it.
If an applicant gets hired regardless of whether they have an employable offense, will be ultimately up to the employer at the nursing home.
"The facility does not have to hire that individual," said Moore.
The effective date for fingerprinting of CNAs under HB2582 will be sometime after March 1, 2013. A federal grant for $2.6M will help fund the program and start up costs.
Posted: Friday, November 2 2012, 09:23 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Pace slows in testing after Tulsa health scare
May 24, 2013 12:51 GMT
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Additional tests reveal no new cases of hepatitis or the virus that causes AIDS among patients of a Tulsa oral surgeon accused of running dirty clinics.
The pace of people seeking testing has slowed. About 3,900 patients of Dr. W. Scott Harrington have gone to state clinics for testing. In March, health departments urged testing for 7,000 patients. Just 54 patients sought tests within the past week.
Inspectors said they found unsanitary conditions inside Harrington's clinics at Tulsa and Owasso.
So far, 70 patients have tested positive for hepatitis C, five for hepatitis B and three for HIV, but there is no indication the diseases spread at the clinics. Health experts say the spread of disease in dental clinics is extremely rare.
Harrington is cooperating with the investigation.
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