Oklahoma nursing homes, others soon must use stringent screening for certain workers

Patricia Rogers, of McAfee & Taft, discusses new Oklahoma legislation that requires nursing homes and other health care providers to use greater screening processes for filling positions that require direct patient care.
by Paula Burkes Modified: January 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: January 29, 2014

A: Employers must screen applicants through the OK-SCREEN web portal (onbc.health.ok.gov) using the applicant's name, address, date of birth and other demographic information. The initial screening will check a number of registries. If results show the applicant preliminarily qualifies, the applicant within 10 days must agree to have fingerprints taken at an authorized site for a national criminal background check. The employer pays $19 for the fingerprint-based check; the applicant pays $10 to the fingerprint vendor. An employer may conditionally employ individuals before receiving the fingerprint results for up to 60 days, if they sign statements saying they're not disqualified for employment under the act and acknowledge they'll be terminated if criminal checks don't conform with the act. An employer must provide direct on-site supervision of a provisional employee. The Oklahoma National Background Check program will monitor any subsequent disqualifying arrests.

Q: When does the new background check program begin?

A: Affected employers may begin using the new screening Saturday. The employers must use OK-SCREEN to screen job applicants and authorize fingerprint-based national background checks by the following dates: March 1 (adult day care centers and residential care homes); April 1 (intermediate care facilities for disabled adults); May 1 (nursing facilities); June 1 (continuum of care and assisted living facilities); July 1 (Medicare certified home health agencies); Aug. 1 (certain other employers identified in the act).


by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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