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Thread: CNA SHORTAGE IN NJ,,,,,

  1. #1

    CNA SHORTAGE IN NJ,,,,,

    HI ALL,,,THE ARTICLE BELOW WAS PRINTED TODAY IN A MAJOR NJ NEWSPAPER. IT IS NOT NEWS TO ME, FOR I HAVE EXPLAINED THIS IN A PREVIOUS THREAD[['CAREGIVER SHORTAGE; BY 'PN', OCT/01.], FROM FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE, UNFORTUNATELY.

    I CAN TELL YOU AS SOMEONE ''WHO IS IN NEED OF A CNA AND HAS BEEN SEARCHING IN NJ'' ; THE ARTICLE[BELOW], GROSSLY UNDERSHOOTS THE ''DISMALNESS/INEFFECTIVENESS'' OF THE CNA SITUATION/PROGRAM IN NJ.

    ''HOW BAD IT SUCKS TO BE IN ''REAL'' NEED OF HELP,,,BUT YA KEEP ON GOING AND HOPE FOR THE BEST.''
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    ''Background checks cut health aide availability.''CNA
    Wednesday, December 5, 2001


    By MARY JO LAYTON
    Staff Writer

    More than 1,000 home health aides are no longer licensed to work in New Jersey after background checks revealed criminal pasts and other problems, officials said Tuesday.

    In addition, the caregiver workforce of 35,000, already plagued by a labor shortage, may lose 1,000 more: 400 aides were disqualified for refusing to undergo the criminal checks. The rest are undergoing scrutiny, including some who have been charged with theft, assault, drug abuse, and other crimes that may cost them their jobs.

    "When you add it all up, there's a significant number of people who have been eliminated from eligibility to serve in these sensitive positions,' said Mark S. Herr, director of the state Division of Consumer Affairs, which certifies the healthcare workers.

    Officials did not say which crimes aides had committed or how long they had worked in the homes of patients, their pasts undetected. However, the thought of a drug offender or thief tending to a cancer survivor or surgery patient at home alone was unsettling to industry officials and those who need an aide.

    "I like that the state is looking into this," said Janice Sangle, a West Milford resident who counts on an aide to help with personal care and chores. "I keep thinking: Did I ever have one of those aides, and if I did I'm really lucky I have everything intact.

    "We really need to make sure we have competent, qualified people to take care of the needs of the disabled," said Sangle, an activist and past chairwoman of the Passaic County Council on Disability.

    The state began conducting the background checks on 29,000 certified home health aides last year as mandated by a law signed in May 2000 by Gov. Christie Whitman. The legislation closed a loophole that required only newly certified aides to undergo the scrutiny, which left most of the workforce unchecked.

    Under the new procedures, an aide must submit two sets of fingerprints -- one goes to the state police and the other is sent to the FBI to detect criminal activity in other states. These background checks can take weeks or months to complete.

    The checks were mandated after legislators called for changes in response to articles published in The Record in 1999 revealing that dozens of criminals were licensed by New Jersey.

    A Hackensack aide, for example, had been convicted 11 times of drug and theft charges, yet remained on the job. In a South Jersey county, an aide had marijuana shipped to the senior center where she worked.

    Industry officials praised the state's efforts to weed out criminals in the workforce. However, they know it spells trouble for a profession that has already lost 10,000 certified aides in the last five years. Today, there are nearly 35,000 certified aides, Herr said. Of those, 6,000 were new hires and had already undergone criminal background checks as a condition of employment.

    "Obviously, no one wants to hire a criminal," said Donna Krociata of Loving Hands Agency in Paramus. Most of the company's 300 aides have passed the background checks. She said she is awaiting word on a few remaining aides.

    To combat the shortages, agencies will have to be even more active with recruitment, offer transportation from job to job, provide training, and make workers think of home healthcare as a profession, not a job, she said.

    "The aides are really the lifeline to the sick people out there. We really stress how important this job is," she said.

    But low pay -- the average is $7 to $10 an hour -- for work that can be back-breaking and emotionally trying has forced many aides into other fields. And some agency owners believe mandatory criminal checks forced hundreds to leave the occupation before their pasts were detected.

    Earlier this year, the state had to send notices to agencies reminding them that aides must answer the question regarding a criminal background. The question was left blank on many applications.

    Of the more than 1,000 aides rejected for criminal backgrounds and other problems, 298 aides admitted having a criminal past, and 293 were disqualified after a criminal history was revealed. An additional 432 were disqualified for lying about their past, Herr said.

    Herr said 125 aides were currently charged with crimes that may cost them their jobs. Until their cases are resolved in court, they may be working with patients, he said.

    The majority of aides -- 22,744 -- have passed their criminal background checks, Herr said. An additional 931 -- who were most likely convicted of a traffic violation or minor offense -- were qualified after review by the Board of Nursing, Herr said.

    An additional 1,645 are waiting for the criminal checks to be completed, he said. The Nov. 30 deadline for recertification was extended to March 2002.

    Gregg Kerr, director of operations at Loving Care Agency Inc. in Fort Lee, said the state had done its job in getting criminals out of patients' homes.

    Agencies can do their part, despite a shortage, he said, by ensuring that aides are properly trained and supervised. "We should be concerned about sending only the most qualified people to clients," said Kerr, who oversees one of the largest agencies, with 1,300 aides working from four locations.

    "We should not take quantity over quality," he said.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Manassas,Va. USA
    Posts
    353

    Just lost our aid on Monday!

    Without any notice, They decided to do a background check on my sons nurse aid whom we've had for 2 years now. Come to find he hadn't gone thru the CNA class. So they cut us off and tried to send us another poor excuse for an aid. We sent her right back. I called them and gave them hell but it didn't matter to them that he's been doing this for 10 years and had some other training. So now all our lives are thrown into more disruption as we adjust until we can get our nurse aid back. Our first year into our sons injury was a lesson on the hole care industry. One after another came thru, filthy, unkept,and the ones that looked good on the outside we're loony on the inside.It's seems rare to find a good one.Anyway it's not any better in Virginia.

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