New law requires background check for health care workers

New law requires background
check for health care workers

Legislation that would require criminal background checks as a condition for licensure as a health care professional in New Jersey was signed into law Nov. 22.

The measure, S-970, sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Robert Singer of Lakewood, is designed to ensure the integrity and highest standards for New Jersey’s health care system, according to a press release. The bill would disqualify a health care professional from obtaining a license if he or she has been convicted of certain crimes.

"Patients in New Jersey need to have full confidence that the health care professionals who are treating them do not pose a threat to their well being," said Singer (R-30). "This measure is also designed to ensure that our dedicated health professionals throughout the state can be comfortable knowing that their colleagues have not been convicted of particular crimes that may jeopardize their practice and the care of their patients."

Specifically, the legislation would require a health care professional who is seeking licensure under a Title 45 profession to undergo a criminal history background check. Title 45 professions include, but are not limited to, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and chiropractors.

The background checks would be accomplished by the applicant submitting their name, address and fingerprints to the Division of Consumer Affairs licensing board of their profession. The board’s executive director would then determine that no criminal history record exists on file with the FBI or the Division of State Police that would disqualify that person from being licensed or allowed to practice as a health care professional.

"Trust and communication between patients and the professionals treating them are a vital part of providing quality health care," Singer said. "This legislation will protect the public by making sure any applicants who have been convicted of criminal offenses in New Jersey or another state are prohibited from practicing and treating patients."