Arizona recently passed Senate Bill 1242 (SB1242) and is set to go into effect on January 1, 2023. SB1242 aims to improve upon the background check/licensing process for employees working with individuals in nursing facilities and nursing homes.
According to the pre-existing legislation, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-411 (Stat 36-411), employers of specific nursing facilities have to submit employees to specific fingerprinting and background check guidelines in order to obtain proper fingerprint clearance cards from the Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers (NCIA). According to the current statute, the following individuals are required to obtain proper clearance:
- “Registered nurses, practical nurses, nursing assistants and caregivers (including those that provide direct care as part of a contract with a nursing, senior or assisted living facility);
- Physical, respiratory, occupational, massage and speech therapists and other therapy staff (including those that provide direct care as part of a contract with a nursing, senior or assisted living facility);
- Social workers;
- Activity personnel in nursing care institutions; and
- Persons having a contract with the facility to provide direct care, such as registered nurses, practical nurses, nursing assistants, caregivers, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, therapy staff, and massage therapists.”
With the passing of SB1242, the state is further fortifying the process for obtaining clearance for dealing with such a vulnerable population. Specifically, the newly introduced legislation expands on the list of felony crimes that would prevent an individual from obtaining clearance/licensing, all dealing with either “violence or financial fraud.” Additionally, SB1242 has set forth the requirement that as part of the initial certification process, an individual must submit a full set of fingerprints to the NCIA in order to further verify state and federal criminal history records.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers in the healthcare field, specifically nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, will want to review and make any necessary updates to their hiring practices involving background checks and fingerprinting. Employers should also take note of any requirements that may also be triggered by their background screening practices under the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FRCA). It is also recommended that employers seek the assistance of legal assistance in order to ensure compliance with these upcoming legislation changes.