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Kentucky National Background Check Program

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the National Background Check Program?

The National Background Check Program (NBCP) is a fingerprint-supported state and FBI background check program available to long-term care employers. This program has been created to help protect elderly and vulnerable adults from possible abuse, neglect and exploitation by preventing bad actors from hiding criminal or abusive actions committed in other states.

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2. What is the KARES Web Portal?

KARES is an online portal which facilitates the pre-employment background check process. Once inside the KARES web portal , an employer will check abuse registries, licensure status, and submits applicants for fingerprint criminal background check. This online portal creates a single sign on point where an employer is able to store pre-employment check information and receive notifications on applicant information.

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3. What types of employers may participate in KARES?

Long-term care facilities, including:

  • Long-term care facilities, including nursing facilities, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, Alzheimer’s nursing homes, personal care homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (excludes family care homes);
  • Nursing pools providing staff to long-term care facilities;
  • Adult day health care programs;
  • Assisted-living communities;
  • Home health agencies;
  • Personal services agencies;
  • Providers of hospice care, including residential hospice providers; and
  • Providers of home and community-based services.

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4. What types of workers are subject to a background check under KARES?

Any individual, hired directly or through contract, who has duties that involve (or may involve) one-on-one contact with a patient, resident or client of a NBCP-participating employer. This also includes any volunteer who has duties that are equivalent to the duties of an employee providing direct services and those duties involve (or may involve) one-on-one contact with a patient, resident or client.

Individuals exempt from a background check under KARES include Board certified Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists, and any individual who independently contracts with the long-term-care facility or provider to provide utility, construction, communications, or other services if the contracted services are not directly related to the provision of services to a resident, patient, or client.

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5. How soon will an employer be notified of the applicant’s background check results?

Employers should receive a clear for hire or not clear for hire notice within 48 to 72 hours from the date the applicant's fingerprints were submitted to the system.

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6. Is provisional employment allowed?

Yes, an employer may hire an applicant as a provisional employee, if the applicant’s fingerprints have been taken and submitted to the system. An applicant can remain in provisional status for only 60 days or until the final determination has been completed.

During the period of provisional employment, the individual shall not have supervisory or disciplinary power or routine contact with patients, residents, or clients without supervision on site and immediately available to the individual.

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7. Where should an applicant go to be fingerprinted?

Fingerprint collection sites are based on the home address of the applicant. Once the application for background check has been submitted in the KARES portal, the system will provide a barcoded Fingerprint Authorization form. This form is specific to each individual applicant and will list the three closest fingerprint collection sites based on the applicant’s home address. The applicant will take this form along with a valid government issued photo ID for fingerprinting.

Fingerprint collection is currently completed by designated Kentucky One-Stop Career Centers (throughout the state). The addresses and hours of operation of the nearest locations to the applicant's home address will be printed out on the fingerprint authorization form.

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8. What types of offenses would disqualify an applicant from employment in a facility or provider that participates in KARES?

Offenses that constitute a disqualifying offense include:

  • Felony offenses related to theft, abuse or sale of illegal drugs and other violations of the Controlled Substances Act, criminal abuse of a child or adult, sexual crimes, violent crimes and arson;
  • Misdemeanor offenses related to abuse of a child or adult;
  • Misdemeanor sex offenses;
  • Identification on the nurse aide abuse registry or Kentucky’s child abuse and neglect registry; and
  • Identification on the federal OIG-LEIE exclusion list, which contains individuals and businesses excluded or sanctioned from participating in Medicare, Medicaid or other federally funded programs.

A complete list of the disqualifying offenses may be downloaded from the KARES Webpage.

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9. Can an applicant appeal?

There are essentially two types of appeals: an applicant challenges the accuracy of criminal history information supplied by the Kentucky State Police or FBI or the rehabilitation review process in which an applicant admits to commission of the disqualifying criminal offense or acknowledges placement on Kentucky’s child abuse and neglect registry, but petitions for a waiver from the prohibition against employment.

In an accuracy challenge appeal, the applicant claims not to have committed the criminal offense and may contact either law enforcement agency directly to dispute the matter.

In a rehabilitation review process appeal, a panel of Cabinet staff not responsible for determining a disqualifying offense reviews mitigating circumstances such as the amount of time since the offense, lack of relationship between the offense and the job, character references and evidence of rehabilitation. The panel makes recommendations to the Cabinet secretary or designee who makes the final decision regarding whether a waiver will be granted.

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10. Many employers use contract physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists. Some therapists work for multiple agencies. In those instances, who is responsible for the background check?

There are two types of contract workers. One type of contract worker is secured by long-term care employers from a staffing agency. The other type of worker is an independent contractor with whom a long-term care employer contracts with directly.

If a staffing agency supplies workers to a long-term care employer participating in the NBCP, the staffing agency must register for an account in the KARES web portal. The staffing agency would also be the entity responsible for submitting e-payment through the KARES web portal to cover the costs of the background checks. Notification regarding whether a contract worker is clear for hire or not clear for hire is sent to the staffing agency. If a staffing agency worker has a break in continuous employment longer than six months, he or she must be re-fingerprinted prior to working with another NBCP-participating employer.

NBCP-participating long-term care employers which contract directly with an independent contractor must secure a background check on the contractor via KARES web portal.

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11. When did this program become mandatory?

On November 20, 2015, Governor Steve Beshear signed 906 KAR 1:190E, an emergency regulation which will require the following care providers to obtain fingerprint-supported State and National background checks on new employees:

  • Long-term care facilities, including nursing facilities, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, Alzheimer’s nursing homes, personal care homes, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (excludes family care homes);
  • Nursing pools providing staff to long-term care facilities;
  • Adult day health care programs;
  • Assisted-living communities;
  • Home health agencies;
  • Personal services agencies;
  • Providers of hospice care, including residential hospice providers; and
  • Providers of home and community-based services.

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12. How do I enroll in the National Background Check Program and access the KARES web portal?

To enroll in this service, visit the KARES Providers page and follow the self-directed enrollment process. Once a user account has been created, sign into the portal through the Kentucky Online Gateway.

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13. When am I required to enroll in the program?

Providers will need to enroll in KARES when renewing licenses in order to obtain a renewal. Once enrolled, facilities will begin using the KARES Program for background checks on new employees going forward, as they are hired.

While the law takes effect on January 1, 2016, licenses are issued on a rolling calendar basis and the license renewal month determines the deadline for enrollment. Facilities should enroll prior to the last day of the month preceding the license expiration date. For example, a license expires on July 31, 2016, enrollment will need to take place on or before June 30, 2016.

Facilities may choose to enroll prior to the renewal month, and early enrollment is highly recommended to avoid possible delays.

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14. I have more questions. Who will answer them?

E-mail additional questions to the KARES program. Questions will be reviewed and this page will be updated as necessary. Please check back here often for more information.

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Last Updated 12/4/2015