Fox4KC reported the disturbing truth that most states do not require nursing homes to disclose to residents that they are sharing a home with convicted sex offenders and sexual predators. Indeed, there’s no requirement in the laws of most states that patient background checks be completed and shared with staff.
It is a wide-spread problem. In a 3-month investigation, FOX4 investigative producer Lisa McCormick cross-checked the Missouri sex offender registry with the state’s long-term care facilities and found at least 200 registered sex offenders living in the homes.
Elder law experts, consumer advocates, and families of residents argue it’s time that state laws mandate background checks and notice to residents and potential clients that sex offenders are in the population, and how they are being cared for to protect the safety of staff and clients.
FOX4 discovered other states have taken the following action to address concerns regarding sex offenders living in nursing homes:
California: The Department of Corrections or other governmental agency must notify a nursing home if a registered sex offender is released into a facility. Otherwise, registered sex offenders must self-report their status before becoming a resident of a long-term care facility.
Nursing homes must notify all residents and employees that a registered sex offender lives in the facility.
Illinois: Nursing facilities are required to do a criminal background check and mental health evaluation on residents prior to admission.
A forensic psychologist reviews those reports and creates a report that describes patients’ risk level and possible security issues. The nursing home, local police, an ombudsman and the Illinois Department of Public Health receive that report.
Sex offenders are not allowed to have roommates in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Massachusetts: State law prohibits anyone who is a Level 3 sex offender from living in nursing homes. The level is based on a risk assessment. At least one nursing home resident has successfully challenged this law.
Minnesota: State law requires registered offenders to notify nursing homes of their status. The police must also prepare a fact sheet for the home, which includes information about the offender’s criminal history, risk level and profile of potential victims.
All residents in the home must be given a copy of that fact sheet when the offender is admitted.
Ohio: Nursing homes must check the state’s sex offender registry before admitting a new resident. The facilities are also required to notify other residents or their families about how the home will care for the offender.
Oklahoma: In 2008, the state passed a law to create a nursing home just for registered sex offenders. No one, however, bid on that project.
Nursing homes are required to check the sex offender registry before admitting residents. Nursing homes must notify the state health department if an offender moves in the facility. Nursing homes are also required to post notifications that a registered sex offender lives in the facility.
Oregon: Registered sex offenders are required to inform nursing homes of their status before admission.
Virginia: Nursing homes must check to see if potential residents are registered sex offenders. All residents must sign a document stating they know how to check the sex offender registry.
Nursing homes, however, are not required to disclose that a registered sex offender lives in the facility.