The primary goal of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is to promote the health and well-being of vulnerable Maine citizens in need of care and assistance. The Maine Background Check Center (MBCC) provides a mechanism for providers of long-term care, residential care, and home or community-based services to conduct efficient, effective, economical, and comprehensive background checks on their applicants and employees who have direct access to the vulnerable citizens in their care – including the elderly and disabled individuals.
Direct access employees are essential to the care and support of vulnerable Maine citizens in a variety of licensed and unlicensed facilities, homes, programs, and centers throughout Maine. The majority of these workers are dedicated to the care and safety of the individuals they serve. However, because direct access employees have close, lengthy, and often unsupervised access to vulnerable people or their property, screening of these workers is very important.
From 2005 – 2008 CMS (Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services) conducted a pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of conducting background checks on prospective employees of Long Term Care providers with direct access to patients. The goal of this study was to reduce cases of abuse, neglect and misappropriation. This study laid the groundwork for CMS to communicate and form cooperation with the National Background Check Program.
In 2011 a grant application was submitted to the National Background Check Program with supporting information detailing that the current system is inefficient and redundant and a new system could provide one registry. The new Maine Background Check Center created a database that integrated all departments and current databases being highly efficient, have easy access and convenience, is comprehensive in providing complete information, will log a direct care worker list, include system alignment, and has Rap Back capabilities. The state established a stakeholders group, and contracted with Yale New Haven Health Services to create the web based database. The core system is linked to multiple registries such as the national and local sex offender registries, the Maine State Bureau of Identification (SBI) and eventually, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
On July 16, 2015, the enabling legislation for the Maine Background Check Center was passed by the 127th Maine Legislature. The new law went into effect October 15, 2015.
In January 2017, the Maine Background Check Center began a pilot rollout program providing background checks for Long Term Care facilities followed by other mandated users throughout 2017 and into 2018.