Unlicensed caregiver with criminal history can still work at ALF under Florida law

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side Investigates has learned that unlicensed caretakers with prior misdemeanors can legally work at assisted living facilities in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

We started to investigate after the Clearwater Police Department arrested a nursing assistant at Rainbow Manor assisted living facility in Pinellas County on Oct. 11.

Shadeek Shakoor is charged with abuse or neglect of an aged or disabled person.

Clearwater police say Shakoor was the only caregiver on duty when a fire broke out at approximately 9:30 a.m.

First responders found the 54-year-old passed out as food he had cooked too long sparked a small kitchen fire.

The facility filled with smoke.

Three of the residents, ages 72, 82 and 92 were taken to Morton Plant Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. One of the residents was wheelchair bound, according to the arrest affidavit. All three residents were reportedly admitted for treatment in serious condition.

Detectives say Shakoor smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and showed signs of impairment.

8 On Your Side Investigates learned that Shakoor pled guilty to various misdemeanors in the past. All of the incidents involved alcohol.

In March 2006, Shakoor pled guilty to one count of driving under the influence after he was found unconscious at an accident scene, according to records from the Florida Department of Health.

In September 2010, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after allegedly harassing customers at a store. According to state records, Shakoor, who appeared intoxicated, removed his clothes during the incident.

In May 2013, Sharkoor pled guilty to disorderly conduct after an alleged bar fight.

In April 2014, Shakoor pled guilty to another DUI.

8 On Your Side Investigates learned that Shakoor’s certified nursing assistant license was suspended three years ago.

According to the Department of Health, it was never reinstated. His CNA license is currently null and void, according to online records.

Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi asked AHCA how Shakoor passed the agency’s background check.

AHCA’s Deputy Communications Director Patrick Manderfield stated Shakoor was “properly screened” and he had no “disqualifying offenses” prior to the latest charge.

The Agency conducts pre-employment screenings in accordance with Florida law. Mr. Shakoor was properly screened by AHCA prior to employment and did not have any disqualifying offenses prior to his October 11 charge. He is currently not eligible due to this arrest.” said Manderfield in an email.

8 On Your Side Investigates had more questions for AHCA regarding Shakoor’s license, preemployment screening and ALF job.

We waited for more than two weeks for answers.

Late last week, 8 On Your Side learned Shakoor passed AHCA’s screening in May. He was hired to work as a non-certified nursing assistant at Rainbow Manor. AHCA said the facility knew about his criminal past and ultimately, the facility is in charge of hiring.

8 On Your Side stopped by Rainbow Manor.

A woman, who stated she was in charge, declined to go on-camera. She said the fire was small and 8 On Your Side’s news coverage had brought state inspectors.

AHCA also released a new statement to WFLA-TV late last week.

The Agency’s most fundamental commitment is protecting the health and well-being of patients and residents at health care facilities throughout Florida. Our background screening clearinghouse is a comprehensive tool used to ensure those applying for employment with a facility are eligible and meet all legal criteria prior to employment. When a screening is complete, providers receive a full criminal history of an individual, including all arrests. If an individual is deemed eligible, it is ultimately the responsibility of employers to take criminal records into account when making employment decisions in the best interest of those entrusted to their care.” – Secretary Mary Mayhew

Since AHCA’s most fundamental commitment is protecting patients and residents, 8 On Your Side asked if the Agency believes residents are currently being put at risk and if AHCA believes change is necessary.

A spokesman declined to comment.

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