Will allow users to search employee database for misconduct
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear today signed a new law creating a caregiver misconduct registry, which will help families and employers in the adult care profession learn if an applicant has a record of substantiated adult maltreatment.
Senate Bill 98, which took effect July 15, will give better protection to Kentucky’s elderly and disabled adults. The registry created through the law and maintained by the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, will include a listing of employees in a caregiving role who have abused, neglected or exploited a vulnerable adult.
Once launched, the registry can be accessed by caregiving facilities, private family employers and groups that accept volunteers who work with seniors and adults with limited abilities.
“Vulnerable adults and seniors often can’t speak out when they’re being mistreated, and many don’t even know when they are being taken advantage of financially,” Beshear said. “This law protects them from prospective caregivers with bad records.”
The registry will include employees who have cared for vulnerable adults — in a facility or privately in a residence — and who have been identified through a DCBS investigation as a perpetrator of a validated, substantiated finding of abuse, neglect or exploitation occurring on July 15, 2014, and after.
The registry is not a criminal listing, James said. Names listed may or may not have been convicted of criminal charges. The law is not retroactive and will not include perpetrators who have been found by DCBS to have committed adult maltreatment prior to July 15, 2014.
The law provides a very rigorous due process for alleged perpetrators, James said. For a person’s name to appear on the registry, he or she will have exhausted all appeal rights, including the right to an administrative hearing, outlined in the law.
“It will take some time after a report is made and even after an investigation begins for a name to be included on this list. We must allow for due process for individuals who are reported,” James said. “But it will make a difference in our adult protective services.”
Later this year, a free, searchable web portal will be accessible from the DCBS homepage and can be accessed 24 hours a day, said DCBS Commissioner Teresa James.
“The site will be a convenient, secure tool that will enhance current background check processes to screen prospective caregivers,” James said.
James said the CHFS Office of Inspector General can penalize a health care facility that hires someone with a validated history of adult maltreatment.
In 2013, DCBS received 23,646 reports that met criteria for abuse or neglect in adults age 18-59. Also that year, there were 8,613 reports that met criteria for abuse or neglect of the age 60-plus population.