Bill Expanding National Practitioner Database Access Reintroduced to Senate

August 4, 2023

Senators Marco Rubio and Jacky Rosen reintroduced legislation to help individuals needing long-term healthcare services. It would expand access to the National Practitioner Data Bank. The proposal would include home health agencies, nursing homes, and other long-term care providers getting federal funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

This legislation is the Promote Responsible Oversight and Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act. According to the bill, it would make it easier for providers to screen individuals applying for a job. It proposed a database including information concerning histories of malpractice. It would also detail whether they received formal disciplinary actions.

Senator Rubio held a press conference stating that senior citizens must be protected, especially those relying on long-term care services. He claimed, “We must do all we can to protect our nation’s senior citizens, especially those who rely on long-term care services. I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill that would allow senior care providers access to the National Practitioner Data Bank in order to screen potential hires and avoid hiring individuals with a known record of abuse to care for senior citizens.”

Some healthcare groups also favor the legislation. According to some, it would help ensure seniors receive high-quality care from trustworthy caregivers. The PROTECTS Act legislation would also amend title XIX of the Social Security Act. 

It suggests replacing the passage, “other health care entities as defined in section 431 of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986.” The Act would replace this line to read, “other health care entities (as defined in section 431 of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986), providers of services (as defined in section 1861(u)), suppliers (as defined in section 1861(d)), and providers of items or services under a State plan under this title (or a waiver of such a plan).”

It also recommends replacing “such hospitals or other health care entities.” The PROTECTS Act would change this line to “such hospitals, health care entities, providers, or suppliers.”

In 2019, the PROTECTS Act initially went to the Senate Finance Committee. However, it met a dead end by the end of 2020 because it never reached the full Senate. Its 2022 reintroduction also met no success. However, its supporters hope for more success in the current legislative cycle.

Background checks are crucial for safety in every industry, especially when employees work with vulnerable populations. An effective screening program can help employers to find potential red flags in an individual’s history. As such, employers can make an educated hiring decision to protect those under their care. The best way to start is by working with a trusted background check provider with experience in medical hiring.

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