Bowling Green Attorney Says Criminal Checks are Needed for All Nursing Home Employees

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Proposed legislation that would require criminal background checks for all private long-term care facility employees will help to protect vulnerable Kentucky nursing home residents, Bowling Green personal injury attorney Lee Coleman says.

Lee Coleman

A convicted felon, especially one with a record of physically or sexually abusing others, has no business working at a nursing home anywhere in Kentucky.

A Bowling Green personal injury lawyer said this week that he endorses a bill in the Kentucky legislature that would require criminal background checks for all employees at privately run long-term care facilities.

Senate Bill 44 would protect elderly residents of Kentucky nursing homes from being preyed on by dangerous criminals, said the attorney, Lee Coleman, who represents elderly abuse and neglect victims and their families in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

“A convicted felon, especially one with a record of physically or sexually abusing others, has no business working at a nursing home anywhere in Kentucky,” said Coleman, a partner in the Kentucky personal injury law firm of Hughes & Coleman.

“Elderly nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable of our citizens, and we need a law like this to keep them from becoming easy targets of abuse and exploitation.”

Sen. Tom Buford (R-Jessamine) introduced S.B. 44 on January 4 at the start of the legislature’s 2011 session. It is currently being reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Under current Kentucky law, state-run facilities require criminal background checks for all employees, including those who work directly with residents and those who perform other jobs, such as kitchen and maintenance work. For private facilities, however, the checks are required only for those who provide direct care to residents.

The proposed law would extend the criminal checks to all employees of privately run nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities. The checks would be done through the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

S.B. 44 would prohibit any Kentucky nursing home or assisted-living facility from employing a person who had been convicted of a felony related to theft; abuse or sale of illegal drugs; abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult; or a sexual crime.

A person convicted of a misdemeanor could work at the facility so long as the offense did not relate to abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult.

“It doesn’t make sense to only require background checks for direct care-givers and not for the other employees,” Coleman said. “If you have a convicted felon working in your kitchen, then that criminal has access to vulnerable residents and poses a threat to others.

“We ultimately need to be concerned about the elderly and their loved ones. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious issue in Kentucky, and this is one way to address that issue.”

About Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers

Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, with offices in Bowling Green and Louisville, is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of Kentucky nursing home abuse and neglect victims, as well as the families who care deeply about their elderly loved ones.

Partners J. Marshall Hughes and Lee Coleman are accomplished injury attorneys and advocates for people who have suffered from nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as auto accidents, brain injury, drug injury, defective products, environmental dangers, fire and burn injury, insurance disputes, motorcycle accidents, premises liability, Social Security disability, stock fraud, truck accident injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.

For more information contact Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers at (800) 489-6000 or use the firm's online contact form.

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