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Background Checks for Home Health Aides: A Complete Guide

home health aide background check

If your healthcare organization is looking to hire home health aides, it’s critical to conduct thorough background checks on every applicant.

Home health aides spend significant amounts of time in vulnerable people’s homes while providing direct care.

Did you know that an
Ohio home health aide was arrested for stealing more than $50,000 from a 93-year-old patient and poisoning him with opioids?

Home health aide background checks protect the vulnerable people you serve from potential exploitation, theft, abuse, and fraud while also protecting your organization against potential liability.

Based on our experience performing background checks on home health aides for employers across the country, we’ve written this guide as a resource for healthcare organizations.

Let’s get started.

What is a Home Health Aide Background Check?

A home health aide background check reveals if an applicant has the qualifications to perform their job, is trustworthy, honest, and doesn’t have any red flags in their background, such as thefts, drug abuse, patient abuse, or certain criminal convictions.

Since home health aides are largely unsupervised while working in the homes of vulnerable patients, their background checks are typically much more extensive than for other types of employees.

Why is it Important to Conduct Background Checks on Home Health Aides?

Home health aides work directly with patients in private homes to help them with their activities of daily living so that they can maintain independence.

They might perform a large variety of tasks, including helping with bathing, dressing, hygiene, eating, shopping, checking vital signs, and more.

Home health aides are the face of your healthcare organization and are essential for your patients’ satisfaction and the reputation of your organization. They also play a critical role in ensuring the safety of the people you serve.

Background checks for home health aides can ensure your patients are protected and properly cared for, and they can also protect your company against potential liability and patient harm.

Comprehensive home health aide background checks on each applicant can help you identify applicants who should be screened out to avoid potential problems.

What Does a Background Check for Home Health Aides Include?

Many states require a fingerprint background check for home health aides. However, a fingerprint background check alone might not be comprehensive enough to find all relevant records.

As a result, most healthcare organizations ask for the following additional searches to fill in the gaps in fingerprint background checks:

  • Identity verification
  • National criminal records check
  • County criminal records check
  • National sex offender registry search
  • Lab-based drug screen
  • Employment verification
  • Education verification
  • Motor vehicle records search

Here’s what a few of these reports might show.

Criminal History Search

National and county criminal records checks will reveal if a candidate has criminal convictions or pending criminal cases.

A criminal background check for home health aides reveals the following information about convictions and pending criminal cases:

  • Case number
  • Offense date
  • Nature of the offense
  • Offense severity (misdemeanor or felony)
  • Disposition (if applicable)
  • Disposition date (if applicable)
  • Sentence information (if applicable)

If you operate in a jurisdiction that allows expungement, any expunged convictions an applicant might have won’t be reported.

Employment Verification

Employment verification confirms the claims applicants have made about their past employment on their applications, allowing you to verify that they are honest.

Employment verification shows the following types of information about each of an applicant’s past jobs:

  • Name and address of each employer
  • Employment dates
  • Jobs and titles held

Education Verification

Education verification confirms the education reported by a home health aide on their application.

An education verification reveals the following types of information about an applicant’s educational history:

  • Name and address of each school attended
  • Dates of attendance
  • Any diplomas or degrees earned

Sex Offender Registry Check

If a prospective home health aide is a registered sex offender, a sex offender registry check will show the following information:

  • Any names/aliases an applicant has used
  • Distinguishing features such as tattoos and scars
  • The applicant’s registered address as a sex offender
  • The state where the applicant was convicted of the sex offense

If the offense is reportable, you will also see the offense type, whether it was a felony or misdemeanor, offense date, disposition, disposition date, and sentence.

Motor vehicle records check

A motor vehicle records check returns the following information about an applicant’s driving history:

  • License number
  • Issuance date
  • License class
  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Physical descriptors
  • Traffic violations
  • Assessed points
  • Traffic crimes
  • License suspensions
  • Accident reports

Lab-Based Drug Screen

A lab-based drug screen reveals whether an applicant has recently used any of the following substances:

  • Marijuana
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Cocaine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Methaqualone
  • Methadone

5 Home Health Aide Disqualifications

A home health aide applicant might be denied employment for several reasons.

The most common red flags that might result in an applicant being turned down for a job are described below.

1. Directly Related Criminal Convictions

Home health aides work closely with vulnerable people in their homes. Having specific types of criminal convictions that could endanger their clients will likely disqualify an applicant for a home health aide position.

Some examples of convictions that might result in a denial of a home health aide job include the following:

  • Sex crimes
  • Exploitation of the elderly
  • Elder neglect or abuse
  • Violent crimes
  • Theft
  • Drug theft
  • Specific types of drug crimes
  • DUIs or other major traffic crimes within the past few years

2. Lies About Past Employment

Employers want to confirm that the home health aides they hire are trustworthy and honest.

One way to do this is to request employment verification.

If a prospective home health aide has lied about their past jobs, the employer will likely reject their employment application.

3. Lies About Education

Prospective home health aides who lie about their educational history might be turned down for employment by employers who request education verification because of their dishonesty.

4. Poor Driving Record

Home health aides might need to transport their patients to grocery stores, medical appointments, and other places as a regular part of their jobs.

Applicants for home health aide positions often undergo driving records checks as a part of the screening process.

If a driving record check shows that an applicant has serious traffic offenses or multiple traffic citations, the employer might turn them down for the job based on potential insurability, liability, and safety issues.

5. Positive Drug Screen

Home health aides might have access to their clients’ medication, making it important that their employers request pre-employment drug tests.

Most healthcare organizations condition employment offers for home health aide jobs on passing pre-employment drug screens.

If an applicant’s drug screen comes back positive for one or more substances, the employer will likely withdraw the job offer.

How to Get a Home Health Aide Background Check

There are two main ways healthcare organizations conduct home health aide background checks, including a do-it-yourself approach or partnering with a reputable third-party screening provider.

1. Do-it-Yourself Background Checks

Do-it-yourself background checks for home health aides might involve submitting requests for information to various state agencies, past employers, and schools. Some employers also might try to search their applicants online.

If you attempt a DIY background check, it can take weeks to complete. You might also receive information that is inaccurate, outdated, incomplete, and not legally compliant.

2. Partnering With a Reputable Background Check Company

The best method of completing home health aide background checks is to partner with a reliable third-party background check company like iprospectcheck.

We stay current with all relevant state and federal laws and have extensive access to reliable background information sources, allowing us to return FCRA-compliant, comprehensive background reports to our clients.

Home Health Aide Background Check Laws

There aren’t any specific laws that apply to home health aide background checks.

However, there are a few laws that apply to all types of employment background checks that you should know.

Federal Laws

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal consumer privacy law that was enacted to protect the privacy of consumers in the records collected, maintained, and reported by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to creditors and employers.

CRAS can’t report the following types of information when it is older than seven years for any jobs that offer annual salaries of less than $75,000:

  • Arrests not resulting in convictions
  • Liens
  • Civil judgments
  • Bankruptcies
  • Civil lawsuits

The FCRA’s time limitations don’t apply to jobs offering salaries of more than $75,000 or to other important background information.

Information about convictions, employment history, driving history, education, and others can be reported regardless of how old the information is.

The FCRA also covers employers when they receive negative background check information that makes them want to reject an applicant.

Before you can make a final decision not to hire a home health aide applicant, you must complete the steps of the adverse action process.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) makes workplace discrimination based on the protected characteristics of applicants and employees illegal.

Under guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is the agency that enforces this law, employers must individually assess the criminal records of applicants as they relate to the duties of the positions before deciding not to hire the applicants.

State Laws

State employment background check laws vary from state to state.

An increasing number of local and state governments have passed ban-the-box laws. These laws control when you can ask applicants about criminal history and/or conduct pre-employment background checks.

To learn about your state and local requirements, talk to your legal counsel.

How Long Does a Background Check Take for a Home Health Aide?

How long a home health aide background check might take will depend on how you go about conducting it.

If you try to complete it yourself by sending requests for information to multiple schools, employers, and state agencies, the process could take several weeks.

By contrast, if you work with iprospectcheck, you can receive your background check reports quickly.

We combine cutting-edge research methods and a vast access to resources to return background check reports in as little as a few hours.

iprospectcheck: Your Partner for Home Health Aide Background Checks

If your healthcare organization provides home health services to vulnerable people, you should conduct thorough background checks on each candidate you consider.

If you fail to conduct comprehensive home health aide background checks, the patients you serve could suffer harm, and your organization could be exposed to reputational damage and substantial liability.

At iprospectcheck, we provide background screening services for home health aides, EMTs, MAs, CNAs, pharmacy technicians, and more.

We provide background check services nationwide, including in the following states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • And more

Contact iprospectcheck today to learn more about our background checks and clinical services or to receive a free quote: (888) 509-1979

DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.