Excerpted from a JPSUPRA post

Georgia has enacted a new law implementing a comprehensive program of background checks for Georgia long-term care facilities. The “Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program” consolidates three existing background check statutes and replaces them with a single, comprehensive background check law applicable to all owners, applicants, and employees of long-term care facilities. The new law includes a national fingerprint-based background check system through the FBI database for long-term care employees, applicants, and owners. The law becomes effective October 1, 2019, and existing owners and employees have until January 1, 2021, to submit a records check application to the Department of Community Health or submit evidence of a satisfactory background check.

Provider Types Included
The law’s new background check program applies to personal care homes, assisted living communities, private home care providers, home health agencies, hospice providers, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care homes, and adult day care facilities licensed pursuant to DCH regulations. The law requires background checks on applicants and employees who have routine contact with patients or their financial information and owners who actively participate in operations.

Applicability to Owners
Most owners of long-term care facilities will now be required to undergo background checks, but passive investors, called “excluded parties,” who do not actively participate in the operations of a facility are not required to do so. For example, passive investors who do not provide management, operation, or administrative services for the facility would not be subjected to the background check requirements.

Definition of Employee and Access to Residents as Trigger
The law does not extend to all employees connected with a long-term care facility. Instead, it covers only those applicants and employees who have “routine personal contact with a patient, resident, or client, including face-to-face contact, hands-on physical assistance, verbal cuing, reminding, standing by or monitoring or activities that require the person to be routinely alone with the patient’s, resident’s, or client’s property. . . .” The law explicitly excludes from the “employee” definition any “individual who contracts with the facility, whether personally or through a company, to provide utility, construction, communications, accounting, quality assurance, human resource management, information technology, legal, or other services if the contracted services are not directly related to providing services to a patient, resident, or client of the facility.” The law also covers employees with routine access to patients’ financial information, such as “checkbooks, debit and credit cards, resident trust funds, banking records, stock accounts, or brokerage accounts. Facilities therefore would not be responsible for conducting criminal background checks on employees and contractors who have no routine direct access to patients or their financial information or property.

You can read the full story here.