The chief compliant officer for one of the Florida’s largest Health Care networks contacted us and requested more information about options on how hospital staff can be fingerprinted as part of Level 2 Background Screening.
Currently the Level 2 Background Clearance is required by AHCA only for hospital staff working within mental health or psychiatric units, hospitals’ CEO and CFO. However, we wanted to provide our potential client with all possible options, especially counting that network includes several children’s hospitals and NICU units.
Dear, South Florida’s Leading Health Care Network.
We wanted to make a sufficiently broad research, including advice from a legal consultant before we responded with set of solutions IDENTICO may offer to your organization which includes numerous hospitals.
The answers were in FAQ format, and we decided to share it will all readers who may find these solutions interesting and appropriate for own healthcare facility.
1. What does Level 2 Background Check refers to?
Level 2 Background Check is the term used in Florida Statutes to convey the method of the criminal history record check and the extent of the data searched. However, the terms may also refer to certain disqualifying offenses if certain statutes are referenced. Level 2 is the term that pertains only to Florida and is not used by the FBI or other states. They are defined in Chapter 435, Florida Statutes (F.S.), but are used elsewhere in statute without definition and appear not to be associated with all of the provisions in Chapter 435, F.S.
Level 2 generally refers to a state and national fingerprint based check and consideration of disqualifying offenses, and applies to those employees designated by law as holding positions of responsibility or trust. Section 435.04, F.S., mandates Level 2 security background investigations are conducted on employees, defined as individuals required by law to be fingerprinted pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S.
It should be noted that both the state and national criminal history databases can be searched for arrests, warrants, and other information pertaining to an individual. However, neither database has the capability of searching for specific offenses within an individual record.
2. Is there a presumption against negligent hiring when an employer conducts a background investigation of a prospective employee?
Yes. Pursuant to Section 768.096, F.S., in the case of an intentional tort, an employer is presumed not to have been negligent in hiring an employee if before hiring the employee, the employer conducted a background investigation of the prospective employee and the information did not reveal any information that reasonably demonstrated unsuitability of the prospective employee for the work to be performed or for general employment. The background investigation must include a criminal background investigation.
The statute specifically provides if an employer requests and obtains from FDLE a state criminal history record check; the employer has satisfied the criminal background investigation requirement for the presumption.
3. What are the requirements for a national criminal history record check?
National Check: The following must be in place, as required by the FBI, to receive a national criminal history record check:
- A statute must exist as a result of a legislative enactment;
- It must require the fingerprinting of applicants who are subject to a national criminal history record check;
- It must expressly (“submit to the FBI”) or by implication (“submit for a national check”) authorize the use of FBI records for the screening of applicants;
- It must identify the specific category(ies) of licensees/employees falling within its authority;
- It must not be against public policy;
- It may not authorize receipt of the criminal history record information by a private entity;
- The recipient of the criminal history record check results must be a governmental entity;
- The entity must sign a User Agreement indicating it will comply with the terms and conditions set forth in rule by the FBI; and
- The fingerprint submission must be first processed through the state repository for a search of its records.
4. What information from a state and national criminal history background check can be disclosed to a private employer?
Pursuant to federal law, regulatory and employing agencies may not share any information obtained from a state and national criminal history record check with a private entity. However, these agencies can indicate whether or not the person is eligible for licensing or employment based on their established criteria. Prior to being granted access to the records, authorized agencies must sign a Criminal Justice or Non-Criminal Justice User Agreement with FDLE agreeing to abide by state and federal law.
5. Can a copy of the FDLE and FBI criminal record be provided to applicants if they are denied employment, licensing, or the opportunity to volunteer?
Yes. Applicants may be shown their own criminal record. A copy may also be provided, however, applicants must be cautioned the record may not be used for any other purpose. Applicants are not allowed to provide a copy of the record to any other organization.
6. Is sealed or expunged information released as part of a criminal history record check?
Sealed information is disseminated only to those agencies authorized by provisions in Section 943.059, F.S. Agencies not specified in the statutes are not provided sealed criminal history information. Expunged criminal history information is not disseminated. However, a notification that a record has been expunged is provided to agencies consistent with provisions in Section 943.0585, F.S. Agencies not specified in the statutes are not provided the expunged notification.
7. If a state and national criminal history record check is conducted, is it necessary to conduct a separate check of the sex offender registry for registered sex offenders?
No. If the state and national fingerprint based criminal his story record check is completed, the agency will be notified of all persons designated as sexual predators or offenders in Florida and in the national system.
8. What is the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS)?
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) developed the Civil Workflow Control System (CWCS). CWCS, pronounced “QUICKS”, is an automated system used to receive, process and respond to electronic requests for applicant criminal history record checks. Processing that once took several weeks with fingerprint cards now takes 24 to 72 hours with electronic submissions. CWCS allows different types of applicants to be scanned on a single device and allows input from a variety of livescan devices that adhere to FDLE and FBI standards and requirements.
9. How long does it take to complete a state and national criminal history record check when fingerprints are submitted electronically?
Typically, state and national criminal history record checks are completed within two to three working days of receiving the electronic submission. When a transaction is complete within the CWCS system, the results are posted to Certified Mail, a secure FDLE web mail application. The results will include both state and national criminal history information, as well as any warrants and other information related to the individual.
A result notification email is sent to the email address designated by the customer and will contain a link to this Certified Mail application. This notification will also contain descriptive information specific to the transaction.
10. When can a non-governmental agency receive the results of a state and national background check?
Non-governmental entities are not authorized to receive both state and national criminal history information under statutory licensing and employment provisions. The only time non-governmental entities are eligible to obtain national criminal history information is through the VECHS program.
11. What is the Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) program?
The VECHS program allows for qualified entities to obtain state and national criminal history record checks on individuals working with children, the elderly or the disabled.
12. What is a “qualified entity”? Who can obtain criminal history background checks under the VECHS and Section 943.0542, Florida Statutes?
To qualify for the VECHS Program, an entity must provide some type of “care” or “care placement services” for children, the elderly or the disabled; even if it is only a limited part of the entity’s overall business. Once qualified to participate in the program, an entity may request criminal history information on all current and prospective employees and volunteers, not only those who work with vulnerable persons. A qualified entity may also request criminal history information on employees or volunteers who have or who seek to have unsupervised access to the populations described above.
“Qualified entities” are authorized to obtain criminal history record information as described under the NCPA and related federal guidelines. Under the NCPA and Florida statute, a “qualified entity” is a business or organization, whether public, private, for profit, not-for-profit, or voluntary, that provides care or care placement services, including a business or organization that licenses or certifies others to provide care or care placement services. “Care” means the provision of care, treatment, education, training, instruction, supervision, or recreation to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities.
13. How does an organization enroll in the VECHS program?
If an entity meets the criteria of a “qualified entity”, they may download and complete a copy of the VECHS Qualified Entity Application and the VECHS User Agreement at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/BackgroundChecks or contact the VECHS Unit at (850) 410-VECHS (850-410-8324), to request a copy of each document.
14. Can qualified entities share criminal history information with other qualified entities?
Yes. Criminal history information may be obtained from other VECHS entities, if the employee or volunteer agrees to this on the VECHS Waiver Statement and Agreement form, required to be signed when he/she was fingerprinted, and if the transfer of information is recorded by the other qualified entity on its Dissemination Log. The restrictions on this process are described in the User Agreement. Entities must contact the VECHS Unit at (850) 410-8324 for entity verification before sharing criminal history information.
We believe the FAQ was able to expose all key points of FBI Level 2 Background Screening. Here are the solutions your Health Care Network may decide to implement with IDENTICO’s involvement:
a) Community Mental Health & Crisis Stabilization Units- Level 2 is required by AHCA, FS 435.04 & 394.875 (Adults) and DCF FS 394, 435.04 (mental health facilities and programs providing care for children). Owner / Administrator, Financial Officer, Employees and Contractors Providing Personal Care/Services, Employees that have access to client property, funds or living areas, Directors, Professional Clinicians, Staff Members and Volunteers.
b) Hospital, Surgery Centers and Diagnostic-imaging centers – only CEOs and CFOs are required by Florida Law to go through statutory background screening. Fortunately VECHS program makes FBI Level 2 screening available for all Staff Members. This type of organizations have a high chance to fit under the description of “qualified entity” and establishing VECHS number shall not be very challenging. Each entity will have a separate VECHS “E” (Employee) and “V” (Volunteer) number. As a live-scan vendor IDENTICO will keep that information on file ready for every screening.
c) The cost. If your Health Care Network elects to follow with such screening procedures, and IDENTICO is granted with an opportunity to exclusively offer the screening services, we will put all efforts to make the process as convenient and cost effective as possible. Our mobile units have the capacity to travel to all South Florida locations, no stress or hassle for employees. Our technicians are trained and certified. We possess both liability and property insurance, IDENTICO is liable for any damages which may possibly occur to costly live scan equipment, client facilities or employees during the scope of our services. Keeping potential volume and value of having your Health Network as the client in our mind, we are willing to be highly competitive and flexible with payment option and rates, and will be honored with opportunity to discuss it private meeting.
We assume there may be several questions you may need to be answered, therefore feel free to contact us anytime.
Office: (954) 239-8590
Fax: (954) 367-2256