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New Law Bolsters Background Check Criteria for Employees Serving Arizona Seniors

In March, 2022 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill (SB) 1242 into law, imposing stricter requirements for staff working at residential care institutions, nursing care facilities and home health agencies

Currently, under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-411, specified organizations must require staff to obtain valid fingerprint clearance cards. Examples of employed staff members who must obtain fingerprint clearance include:

  • 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

In addition to the existing fingerprint clearance requirements, SB 1242 adds two new, stricter terms:

  • Individuals with convictions involving "violence or financial fraud" are prohibited from obtaining fingerprint clearance in order to be licensed to work in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The law sets forth several offenses that are considered felonies involving "violence or financial fraud."
  • The Arizona Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers (NCIA) shall now require "each applicant for initial [NCIA] certification to submit a full set of fingerprints to the Board for a state and federal criminal history records check pursuant to Section 41-1750 and Public Law 92-544." Furthermore, the Arizona Department of Public Safety is permitted to "exchange this fingerprint data with the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

This law is slated to take effect in January, 2023. Over the coming months, applicable Arizona employers are encouraged to carefully review all details associated with SB 1242 to ensure hiring processes and internal background check protocols are in alignment with all terms of the law.

Posted: April 28, 2022


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