The Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) might have been passed all the way back in 2010, but it isn't until next year that the substance of the law goes into effect.
The looming implementation of the sweeping legislation not only has businesses preparing for the new law, but also state legislatures, as Ohio has moved to require background checks on individuals in new healthcare positions soon to be created by the legislative overhaul.
'Navigators' subject to screenings
Ohio has once again addressed the issue of background checks in the healthcare industry, but this time, instead of being a reactionary measure, lawmakers are taking a precautionary approach to the subject.
Bills in the state's House and Senate that were recently introduced would require individuals to pass background checks before they can serve in the role of a "navigator." A navigator is a relatively new profession and refers to those who will assist consumers as they navigate through new health insurance exchanges that the ACA mandated be implemented.
The bicameral legislation would require the state to: "Adopt rules to establish a certification and training program for a prospective navigator and the navigator's employees that includes screening via a criminal records check" in accordance with Ohio regulation. Such stipulation require each applicant for a navigator's role to consent to a criminal record check and submit a full set of fingerprints to the superintendent of insurance. Superintendents are also required to consult with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of the criminal check process. Applicants would not be eligible to be placed in the role of a navigator if they do not successfully complete a criminal history check.
The exchanges navigators will be tasked with explaining to unfamiliar consumers will start in 2014. As defined by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit healthcare industry organization, exchanges are constructs that will be established to "create a more organized and competitive market for buying health insurance."
Despite some states avowal to disregard the ACA and its requirements, such as exchanges, Ohio has signaled its intent to partner with the federal government to run the exchange, slated to start operations in October 2013 before offering insurance coverage options in January next year.
Firms that will provide navigators or other healthcare services will have to remain ever-conscious of evolving laws regarding the implementation of the ACA and the required criminal checks several professionals will now be required to submit to and pass.