Indiana’s new background screening requirements take effect for home health and personal services agencies

Beginning July 1, 2016, home health agencies and personal services agencies operating in Indiana are subject to new background screening requirements.  

Indiana Act 350 of 2016 now requires any person operating a home health agency)1 or a personal services agency2 to apply for either a copy of a new employee’s: (1) national criminal history background check; or (2) an expanded criminal history check.3

An “expanded criminal history check”4 means a criminal history background check by a consumer reporting agency regulated by the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) that does not include a written, oral, or other communication of information concerning the individual's credit score, creditworthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity, but does include:

  • (A) verification of the applicant's identity;
  • (B) a search of all names associated with the applicant;
  • (C) a search of the records maintained by all counties in Indiana in which the individual who is the subject of the background check resided;
  • (D) a search of the records maintained by all counties or similar governmental units in another state, if the individual who is the subject of the background check resided in another state;
  • (E) a search of United States district court records from the districts in which the applicant resided;
  • (F) a check of sex offender registries in every state or the national sex offender registry maintained by the United States Department of Justice; and
  • (G) a multistate criminal data base search.

Alternatively, agencies may choose to conduct a “national criminal history background check,” which means a check using the criminal history record system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FB) based on fingerprint identification or any other method of positive identification.5 This may be done though the Indiana State Police Department’s INkless program or through another private vendor. Agencies that select this option must also check either: (i) sex offender registries in all 50 states; or (ii) the national sex offender registry maintained by the United States Department of Justice.

Agencies should ensure that the selected criminal history check is conducted for the individual’s lifetime (and not limited to a number of years).6 If an individual has been convicted of rape, criminal deviate conduct, exploitation of an endangered adult, failure to report battery, neglect, or exploitation of an endangered adult, theft within the past ten years, or certain felonies, the individual may not be employed to provide services in a patient’s temporary or permanent residence.7

Agencies must conduct one of the two aforementioned checks on every new employee and this must be done not more than three business days after the employee begins to provide services in a patient’s temporary or permanent residence. The individual may not provide services in a patient’s temporary or permanent residence for more than 21 calendar days without receipt of the person’s national criminal history check or expanded criminal history check.

Home health agencies and personal services agencies were previously only required to conduct limited criminal history checks, and one of the two more in-depth checks were only required for a limited number of applicants or employees—namely on individuals who had lived outside of Indiana at any time during the two years immediately preceding the date the individual was hired by the agency.

Additional information can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health, Home Health Agency website.

Source: Indiana State Department of Health

1 “Home health agency” is defined under IC 16-27-2-2.
2 “Personal services agency” is defined under IC 16-27-4-5.
3 IC 16-27-2-4.
4 IC 20-26-2-1.5.
5 IC 10-13-3-12.
7 IC 16-27-2-5.

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