I was shocked to read a recent article in the New York Times about the prevalence of nursing home employees with criminal backgrounds. Why would any facility employ someone with a criminal history to take care of the elderly and weak? Why would any facility employ someone with a criminal record to take care of the most vulnerable of our citizens?

The article reports that more than 90 percent of nursing homes employ one or more people who have been convicted of at least one crime. In addition, 5 percent of all nursing home employees have at least one criminal conviction.

The article is based upon a report by Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, who obtained the names of more than 35,000 nursing home employees and then checked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to see if they had criminal records.

“Our analysis of F.B.I. criminal history records revealed that 92 percent of nursing facilities employed at least one individual with at least one criminal conviction,” Mr. Levinson said. “Nearly half of nursing facilities employed five or more individuals with at least one conviction. For example, a nursing facility with a total of 164 employees had 34 employees with at least one conviction each.”

My Take: This situation is totally unacceptable. Nursing homes should conduct criminal background checks on all employees and, if they fail to do so, and hire a former criminal to take care of vulnerable residents, their license should be taken away and the facility closed.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at