New Background Screening Requirements Information…

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) has implemented new background screening requirements as mandated by Senate Bill 406, which was signed into law by former Governor Nathan Deal in May 2018. Effective October 1, 2019, the following facilities shall be required to use GCHEXS for fingerprint criminal background checks of owners, administrators, onsite managers, directors, AND direct access employees:

  • Adult day centers
  • Assisted living communities*
  • Home health agencies
  • Hospice
  • Intermediate care facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Personal care homes*
  • Private home care providers*

*These facility types have used GCHEXS previously for fingerprint criminal background checks for owners and/or administrators/directors. However, on October 1, 2019, the requirements also will apply to direct access to employees. Specific requirements can be found here

Effective October 1, 2019, each prospective owner, administrator, director, manager as well as job applicants who will have direct access to residents undergo a criminal background check, which includes a state and FBI fingerprint check. In addition, by January 1, 2021, all current owners, administrators, directors, managers and current direct access employees will be required to complete a criminal background check.  The legislation can be read by clicking here.

In addition, on April 28, 2019, Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 91 into law which also has an implementation date of October 1, 2019. House Bill 91, is commonly known as “Rap Back” and the law allows the GBI and FBI to retain fingerprints. When fingerprints are retained, DCH will receive a notification if there is a subsequent criminal history event. There will be no further need for an applicant or employee to have additional fingerprints checks. Although fingerprint retention will be mandatory, there will be provisions for the removal of the fingerprints should the individual no longer be employed by a licensed facility. The “Rap Back” legislation can be read by clicking here. The "Rap Back" program is currently under development and is due to be implemented in January 2020.

Facilities impacted by the new legislation can become more aware of their responsibilities by clicking on the various documents below: 

NOTE:  This message impacts the background screening of current owners of Assisted Living Communities, Personal Care Homes, Private Home Care, Community Living Arrangements as well as administrators/directors/managers/employees of Assisted Living Communities, Personal Care Homes. In addition, nursing home employees are also impacted.  Effective October 1, 2019, O.G.C.A. §§ 31-2-9 and 31-7-250 – 31-7-265, and 31-7-350 -31-7-354 will be repealed. Facilities must continue to comply with the aforementioned code sections until September 30, 2019.