October 7, 2010

RI Delegation Announces $1.3 Million in Federal Funds to Help Protect Seniors

Providence, RI – Rhode Island’s congressional delegation announced today that Rhode Island has received a $1.3 million federal grant to set up comprehensive criminal background checks for employees in nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice providers, long-term care hospitals, and intermediate care facilities that provide long-term care services.

“As the need for caregivers for senior citizens has increased, so has the need to screen applicants who are seeking to work with vulnerable, elderly patients in long-term care facilities. This new funding, which was included in the health insurance reform law, will provide increased resources to improve patient safety and prevent elder abuse,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging.

“Our seniors should never have to fear for their safety when they enter a long-term care facility,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “Expanding background checks for prospective caregivers will ensure that our loved ones receive the safe care they deserve.”

“Long-term care facilities provide a critical service for many families who want to ensure their loved ones receive the highest level of care and attention, but that mission is undermined when workers have a history of abuse and neglect,” said U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy. “This program will help restore the peace-of-mind in knowing that patients at long-term care facilities will get the quality of care they deserve.”

“When it comes to caring for our elderly, it is critical to provide a safe, protected environment,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “I am pleased Rhode Island will have a hand in designing a system of care with the ability to identify people with questionable backgrounds.”?

The funding was made available through the health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In addition to Rhode Island, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, and Missouri were included in the first round of funding, which totaled $13.7 million. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will award a total of $160 million for the new program through September 2012.


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