July 14, 2005

Unintended Consequences

Back last November, I wrote about rumblings in Florida to require criminal background checks on prospective resident. In Illinois, they've apparently passed such a law and are now about to suffer the consequences:

Emergency rules implementing the recently signed legislation require all 100,000 current nursing home residents to undergo a criminal background check and be checked against sex offender databases maintained by the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Corrections. The same requirements apply to new admissions.


A spokeswoman for a statewide nursing home association said the new rules are going to turn a delicate family decision into a gut-wrenching experience.
"It's difficult enough to decide to put an elderly relative in a nursing home," said Pat Comstock of the Illinois Health Care Association. "But then to have your elderly grandmother or grandfather subjected to a criminal background check is even more difficult."

And then there is this:

Although the State Police and DOC databases can be easily checked from any computer equipped with Internet access, requests for criminal background checks submitted electronically to the State Police can take up to three days and cost $10. If submitted manually on paper, they can take up to a few weeks and cost $16, according to State Police spokesman Rick Hector.

More than 50 percent of new admissions to nursing homes come directly from hospitals, Comstock said. (emphasis added)

Do you think those hospitals will keep the patients for the days (or weeks) it will take to do this check?