ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has received a $2.6 million three-year grant to enhance background checks for health workers and providers. The grant will be used to develop a more robust fingerprinting system for conducting background checks of providers, owners of health care facilities and employees. It will be developed and administered by the DCH Office of the Inspector General.
The system will connect with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to verify identities and research criminal histories. It will reduce time for background checks and provide access to more comprehensive data.
“The elderly and those who use these services are among our most vulnerable citizens,” said DCH Commissioner David A. Cook. “By enhancing our fingerprint background check, we’re ensuring the peace of mind of families and loved ones. The goal is to protect our citizens from bad actors who have access to personal and financial information and to prevent them from taking advantage of the people they say they’re serving.”
Currently, Georgia law requires a fingerprint based criminal background check of owners of private home care providers and community living arrangements as well as owners and directors of personal care homes and assisted living communities. The state uses both state and national fingerprint databases.
The grant includes developing a state-of-the-art computer system that will consolidate records. It will save time and money by providing a more comprehensive database for criminal and other background checks. Its use will also simplify background checks for facilities as they hire new employees.
Georgia will become the 18th state to use this program that was begun in 2005 as a pilot program in several states. Implementation in Georgia is planned for October 1, 2013.
About the Georgia Department of Community Health
Through effective planning, purchasing and oversight, the Department of Community Health (DCH) provides access to affordable, quality health care to millions of Georgians, including some of the state’s most vulnerable and uninsured populations.
DCH is responsible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids,® the State Health Benefit Plan, Healthcare Facility Regulation and Health Information Technology in Georgia.
David A. Cook serves as Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health.
To learn more about DCH and its dedication to A Healthy Georgia, visit www.dch.georgia.gov.