On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged to Senators that no federal law requires background checks of people serving as “navigators” under President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislation, commonly known as “ObamaCare.” The role of the navigators is to assist Americans with the process of enrolling in health plans through the health benefits exchanges created by the legislation.
Upon questioning, Sebelius said that “it’s possible” that a convicted felon could become a navigator, but suggested that states could require background checks.
A spokesperson for Rhode Island’s health benefits exchange, HealthSourceRI, reported to the Ocean State Current that state employees who work for the exchange have background checks, as do all employees of Connextions, the contractor the state has hired for contact center services. However, the email from Dara Chadwick states that “navigators receive criminal background checks” only “if the agency by which the navigator is employed requires such a check.”
Chadwick did not have information about whether the agencies in question actually perform such checks, but she did provide the Current with a press release listing the agencies, noting an additional one not included. Last week, the Current contacted each of the 20 agencies by email, with the following results, and will update the list with any new information that arrives after publication.
- Amos House: Does not require navigator background checks.
- Blackstone Valley Community Health Care: No response.
- Care New Engand: No response.
- Center for Southeast Asians: No response.
- Comprehensive Community Action/Family Health Services: Checks all employees.
- East Bay Community Action Program: No response.
- Family Resources Community Action: No response.
- John Hope Settlement House: No response.
- Latino Public Radio: No response.
- Mental Health Association: No response.
- Narragansett Indian Health Center: No response.
- Providence Community Health Centers: No response.
- Providence Community Library: No response.
- Rhode Island Parent Information Network: Checks all employees.
- The Providence Center: Checks all employees.
- Thundermist Health Center: Checks all employees.
- Tri-Town Community Action Agency: No response.
- United Way of RI: No response.
- WellOne Primary Medical and Dental Care: No response.
- Wood River Health Services: Checks all employees.