DOH Issues DAL on New Hospice Criminal History Record Check Requirement

Criminal background check application form

The state Department of Health (DOH) recently posted to the Health Commerce System (HCS) a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) for hospices regarding an amendment to the state Public Health Law (PHL) that requires hospice workers who provide direct care or supervision of patients to undergo a criminal history record check (CHRC) as a condition of employment with the hospice.

The DAL can be downloaded here.

The law became effective April 1, 2018 for all hospices licensed and certified under Article 40 of the PHL. Title 10 New York Codes of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Part 402 is being amended to reflect that hospices request a CHRC for any prospective unlicensed individual employed by, or utilized by, the organization who provides direct care or supervision to a patient or resident or who has access to the patient or resident, their living quarters, or their property.

Volunteers, students and professionals licensed by the State Education Department are not subject to the CHRC requirement, according to the DAL.

While noting the April 1 statutory date, the DAL proceeds to indicate that “the regulatory amendment is expected to be finalized in August 2018.”

The DAL follows actions by the Public Health and Health Planning Council on August 2 to approve DOH’s proposed rule that would implement the inclusion of hospice in the CHRC and in the Home Care Worker Registry (HCWR) process. (That proposed rule also included Advanced Home Health Aide provisions.

According to the DAL, hospice providers should develop policies and procedures which ensure compliance with the CHRC requirements.

DOH has developed various training materials to assist hospices in implementing their CHRC program. Training presentations can be accessed on the HCS by logging on, selecting “Documents by Group,” then “Long Term Care,” then “Training” and finally “Home Care.” The trainings include:

  • CHRC application process: A presentation that describes the process for obtaining CHRC checks for potential employees.
  • Introduction to CHRC.
  • Introduction to the Home Care Worker Registry (HCWR).

Hospice providers should verify and update, if necessary, the administrator role in your agency’s HCS account. The administrator is responsible for assigning the “CHRC Authorized Person” (AP); this is the person authorized to request background checks for prospective employees and review the legal determinations letters.

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