Arizona Strengthens Background Checks for Nursing Facility Employees | Arizona

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(The Center Square) – Arizona will now have stronger background checks for those who want to work in state nursing facilities.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1242 effective Friday. It was one of 19 bills he signed into law, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“Our nursing homes and assisted living facilities deserve accountability and leadership from their supervisors,” Ducey said. “SB 1242 accomplishes this. Our elders – grandmothers, grandfathers and family members – deserve nothing less to keep them safe, happy and healthy.

Sen. Tyler Pace, R-Mesa, sponsored the law. It improves background checks for licensing through Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities (NCIA).

“Proper vetting of managers and staff at these facilities is critical to the safety of vulnerable seniors housed at NCIA facilities,” the press release read.

In addition, the bill prohibits those convicted of crimes of violence or financial fraud from obtaining a license to work in the field.

“The NCIA Board of Directors should work with the Arizona Department of Health Services to establish an expedited process for identifying and referring complaints between agencies,” the press release adds.

The change comes nearly a year after a felon convicted of fraud was cleared to work in administration at a Prescott nursing home. Amid COVID-19, the facility forced some workers to stay on duty while infected with the virus. Fifteen residents fell ill and died within weeks. The administrator was fired.

The bill received overwhelming support in both houses of the Arizona state legislature. He passed the Arizona Senate 27-1 on February 14. And on March 10, he passed the Arizona House of Representatives 52-5.

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