The Office of Inspector General, by impartial evaluation, investigation and reporting, seeks to ensure the
integrity of department programs and operations including the fair, accurate and nondiscriminatory
delivery of benefits and services to qualified state residents.


Mission Statement

Establishes efficient, effective, and economical procedures for conducting background checks on all prospective direct patient access employees of long-term care facilities and providers.

What is WV CARES?

  • WV Clearance for Access: Registry & Employment Screening is administered by the Department of Health & Human Resources and the WV State Police Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) in consultation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
  • The program uses web-based technologies to provide employers a single portal for checking state and national abuse registries and the state and national sex offender registries. The web-based system also provides employers access to Nurse Aide Registries for all 50 states and professional licensure registries where available.
  • The web-based system provides an efficient and effective means for an employer to check an applicant's status prior to paying the cost of a criminal history background check.
  • Through fingerprinting, this program provides a comprehensive criminal history records search of national and state criminal history records that was not available under the previous reliance on name-based records searches.
  • The program relies on new technology to monitor criminal histories and alert officials when a subsequent change in criminal history occurs (i.e., rap back).
  • A monitored criminal history record means the cost of re-fingerprinting is not required for employees who change employers in this industry (or apply for work at more than one employer) within the timeframe of a valid background check.

Fitness Determination

All fitness determinations will be performed by WV CARES who have cleared state and federal background check requirements.

  • Employers will receive a notice of the applicant's employment eligibility once the fingerprint-based background check results are reviewed
  • Applicants disqualified from employment in long-term care facilities due to criminal convictions may submit a variance request to the WV CARES Unit within 30 days of notice of employment ineligibility.

National Background Check Program

West Virginia is one of 25 states awarded grant funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create a comprehensive background check program for employees who have direct access to patients. Title VI, Subtitle B, Part Ill, Subtitle C, Section 6201 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PL 111-148) established the framework for a nationwide program for states to conduct background checks, review the results and provide employers with a fitness determination for potential employees. The program's purpose is to protect members from neglect, abuse and financial exploitation.

All long-term care facilities and providers licensed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources are required to conduct employee background checks. This includes:

  • Nursing homes & skilled nursing facilities
  • Home health agencies
  • Hospice care
  • Long-term care hospitals
  • Long-term residential care
  • Personal care services
  • Adult daycare services
  • Intermediate care facilities

Required Background Checks

Two types of background checks are required:

  • registry check
  • a fingerprint-based criminal background check (State and Federal)

Required Registry Checks

Required registry checks are determined based on state and federal policy and/or legislation. For example, for a West Virginia long-term care provider to hire an individual as a nursing assistant, the Bureau for Medical Services requires the potential employer to check the WV Nurse Aide Registry for any adverse actions on the individual's certification.

Facilities cannot hire an applicant until the applicant has been cleared through the required registry check within the WV CARES system.

Facilities will access the required registry check via the web-based WV CARES system.

Criminal Background Check

The fingerprint-based background check is a report that provides criminal history record information on an applicant.

A facility must request a fingerprint-based background check before hiring an individual. An applicant may be provisionally employed for up to 60 days while the WV CARES fitness determination is pending. All provisional employees must be supervised by an employee who has cleared both the criminal background and the required registry checks.

The West Virginia State Police contracts with a private agency to securely capture and transmit fingerprints to be processed through the State Police and the FBI.

Any nursing home that knowingly hires or retains a person who has been convicted of a disqualifying offense will be in violation of West Virginia State Code §16-5C-21 and 64 CSR 13 Nursing Home Licensure Rules.


Casey Perdue

Deputy Director

Cinthia Sea

Contact Information:

Phone: (304) 558-2018