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Registry Check Law

Reference Number: MTAS-1953
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 28, 2020
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As of October 1, 2010, Tennessee requires that an employer complete a background check before employing or contracting with any person who would be providing direct patient care. The relevant section from state law is quoted below.

Tennessee Code Annotated 63-1-149. Registry check.
(a) On and after October 1, 2010, before employing or contracting with any person who would be providing direct patient care, for whom a background check has not been completed, a health care professional licensed under any chapter of this title or title 68, chapters 24 and 140, shall initiate and perform a "registry check" which for the purposes of this section is defined as:

(1) A state-by-state look in any state in which the person has lived in the previous seven (7) years of the national sex offender public registry website coordinated by the United States department of justice, including, but not limited to, the sexual offender registry maintained by the Tennessee bureau of investigation pursuant to title 40, chapter 39, part 2; and

(2) Any adult abuse registry maintained for any state in which the person has lived in the previous seven (7) years; and

(3) The department of health's elder abuse registry established pursuant to title 68, chapter 11, part 10.

(b) Should an applicant be listed on any of the registries listed in subdivisions (a)(1)-(3), the health care professional shall not employ or contract with the person if the person would be providing direct patient care.

(c) A health care professional who complies with the requirements to perform registry checks under subsection (a), or relies on a documented representation provided by an entity with which the health care professional contracts that the person who will work in the office is not on any of these registries, shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability solely based upon the information provided through a registry check under this section. This immunity shall extend to a claim related to the professional's refusal to employ or contract with a person based on information obtained from a registry check.

(d) This section is not intended to apply to contracted, external staff who provide such services as cleaning services, maintenance of office or medical equipment or other services where direct patient contact is not intended.

(e) This section shall not apply to health care professionals licensed chapter 12 of this title.

(f) The department of health shall post no later than October 1, 2010, in a conspicuous location on its website as well as the website of each applicable licensing board a link to all potential databases the health care professional would be required to check pursuant to subsection (a). In addition, each applicable licensing board shall notify all of its licensees at least annually through board newsletters of their obligations under this section.


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