In 2010, Michigan enacted legislation to amend its statutes covering the protection of patients in health-care facilities. As part of the new legislation, any employee with access to a patient or a patient’s belongings, including certified nurse aids, must pass a criminal background check. Although some convictions are permanent bars to employment, other offenders may be eligible if a specified time elapses between the offense and the application.
Convictions Under U.S. Code 42, Section 1320a-7
Any person convicted of a crime involving a state or federal program, such as billing fraud or embezzlement, may not work as a CNA. No person convicted of abusing or neglecting a patient while acting as a caregiver to that patient is employable as a CNA. A conviction for the manufacture or distribution of an illegal substance, or the prescribing, dispensing, manufacturing or distribution of a controlled substance is a bar to employment unless the offense pre-dates Aug. 21, 1996. A conviction for obstructing an investigation into program misconduct prevents approval for employment.
In addition to the convictions enumerated in U.S. Code 42, Michigan agencies and facilities cannot hire a nurse’s aide who has a conviction for committing, conspiring to commit or attempting to commit any felony. After hiring, CNAs must immediately notify their employer if they are arraigned for a felony.
Misdemeanors that can bar employment include larceny, embezzlement, home invasion, criminal sexual conduct, abuse or neglect, negligent homicide and any misdemeanor that involves torture or cruelty. Using a firearm or other dangerous weapon to threaten violence or force or to injure another person is a bar to employment, as is a conviction involving abuse of a vulnerable adult. A CNA cannot have a misdemeanor assault conviction or a conviction for second- or third-degree retail fraud. A misdemeanor conviction for the manufacture, distribution or possession of a controlled substance is a bar to employment. After hiring, CNAs must immediately notify their employer if they are convicted of one of these misdemeanors or if found not guilty due to insanity.
Time Between Conviction and Certification
Convictions under U.S. Code 42 are permanent bars to employment. Once a certain number of years have passed since the completion of the applicant’s sentence, including any probation or parole, approval may be possible. The time frame is 15 years for felony convictions involving the intent to kill or severely injure another, the threat or use of violence or force, criminal sexual conduct, torture or cruelty, neglect or abuse or the use of a dangerous weapon or firearm. The time is 10 years for misdemeanors involving the use of a weapon or firearm, criminal sexual conduct, torture or cruelty and neglect or abuse. Five years must elapse after the following misdemeanor convictions: home invasions, embezzlement, larceny, second-degree retail fraud, negligent homicide, assault or a cruelty-related charge committed when the perpetrator was younger than 16 years old. An applicant may receive approval after three years if the conviction was a misdemeanor assault without the use of a weapon or firearm and with no intent to murder or severely harm the victim. The three-year period also applies to third-degree retail fraud. If the applicant was younger than 16 when convicted for retail fraud or larceny, one year must elapse. A conviction under Michigan Public Health Code Part 74, which relates to manufacturing, distributing or possessing controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, forged prescriptions and similar offenses, requires a one-year lapse of time if the offender was under 18 at the time of the offense.