Friday, June 24, 2011

Governor vetoes background screening legislation

Yesterday, Governor Scott vetoed the Background Screening Bill (SB1992), saying in his veto letter that the state has an obligation to ensure that "these vulnerable members of our communities are protected, especially in their homes."

As a result of the Governor's veto, the new requirements under the legislation are void, including:
* Flexibility for an employer to fill a position before the employee has completed the screening process,
* The modified timeline for the Level II screening of persons, and
* The preclusion of CNAs from having to undergo duplicative background screenings for both employment and testing.

Facilities should refer to the original Agency for Health Care Administration letter on background screening requirements that went into effect August 1, 2010, which includes the timeline for screening requirements (requires Level 2 rescreening every 5 years. Health care providers have until July 31, 2015 to conduct Level 2 rescreening on current employees hired prior to August 1, 2010). These and other resources on background screening can be found under the Members Only Regulatory link under the Facility Operations tab of the FHCA website.

FHCA had convened a coalition of health care and other providers to identify recommended fixes to current background screening requirements and is disappointed by the Governor's veto of the legislation, which would have provided for a number of fixes to the current system. The bill contained several good provisions for FHCA members; however, the Governor was not in agreement with the portion of the bill which allowed volunteers to have contact with vulnerable persons and be exempt from the screening process. This provision was not a focus of FHCA’s advocacy efforts. The Governor has said he will issue an executive order retaining a portion of the bill that sets up an interagency workgroup to streamline background checks and share information, which is good news.

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