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Additional Safeguards to Prevent Elder Abuse at Nursing Home Facilities in Georgia

June 24, 2018

A Highlight of the New Georgia Law That Provides Additional Safeguards to Prevent Elder Abuse at Nursing Home Facilities

June 6, 2018 (  According to an article from, a new law was recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal (R) on May 7, 2018 that further safeguards long term care patients from elder abuse.*

The law, which is effective October 1, 2019, will now require long term care owners, applications and employees in Georgia to be subject to a comprehensive national fingerprint related background check system through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database.  

What is the most interesting about the new law is that it requires owners, not just employees, to submit to a background check. This aspect of the law represents the Georgia Legislature’s intention to increase all levels of protections at a long term care facility, which hopefully will turn into better conditions for the country’s aging population. 

According to the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Vernon Keenan, elder abuse “is what I call an iceberg crime. You only see a small part of the criminal activity and the rest remains out of sight and hidden.”

Most states in the U.S. only screen employees at long term care facilities. They use the FBI’s fingerprint national background check to screen employees, per a February council report. “This ensures that applicants who are convicted of crimes that make them ineligible to work in nursing homes do not move to an adjoining state and obtain employment in a facility.”

This new law applies to various long term care facilities, including personal care homes, private home care providers, hospice facilities, nursing homes, intermediate care homes, adult day care facilities and skilled nursing facilities.   In addition to a fingerprint check, the law also requires that owners, applicants and employees be checked against Georgia’s nurse aid registry, the federal List of Excluded Individuals and Employees, and the state sexual offender registry.  If someone has not lived in Georgia for two years or more, the check must be extended to the state in which the person formerly resided.  

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.