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AHCA Background Screening

“Who is required to be screened” per AHCA (Agency for Healthcare Administration)

Changes in the law, passed during the 2010 legislative session (Chapter Law 2010-114), significantly modifies the background screening and hiring process for many service providers regulated by a variety of state agencies including health care providers licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) under Chapter 408, Part II, Florida Statutes (F.S.)

 

According to section 943.0525, F.S., the Criminal Justice Information Program will not allow Level II screenings unless there is statutory authority to do so. The following persons are required to undergo Level II screening in accordance with section 408.809, F.S.:

 

  • Licensee if the licensee is an individual [Reference 408.809(1)(a)]

 

  • Administrator or a similarly titled person who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the provider. For example in a clinical laboratory, the Laboratory Director is the person designated with the day-to-day responsibilities of operation. [Reference 408.809(1)(b)]

 

  • Financial officer or similarly titled individual who is responsible for the financial operation of the licensee or provider. [Reference 408.809(1)(c)]

 

  • Controlling interests – may be required to be screened if the agency has reason to believe the person has been convicted of a disqualifying offense.  [Reference 408.809(1)(d)].  A controlling interest is defined as the applicant or licensee; a person or entity that serves as an officer of, is on the board of directors of, or has a 5-percent or greater ownership interest in the applicant or licensee; or a person or entity that serves as an officer of, is on the board of directors of, or has a 5-percent or greater ownership interest in the management company or other entity, related or unrelated, with which the applicant or licensee contracts to manage the provider.  The term does not include a voluntary board member.

 

  • Employees that are expected to provide direct care or services or have access to client property, funds or living areas. [Reference 408.809 (1)(e)]

 

  • Contractors expected to provide personal care or personal services directly to clients. Evidence of contractor screening may be retained by the contractor’s employer or the licensees (provider). [408.809 (1)(e)]

 

  • Other persons required under the authorizing statutes to be screening including the medical director and all health care practitioners for a licensed health care clinic (see chart for details).

 

  • Volunteers for a mental health provider licensed under chapter 394, F.S. which includes Crisis Stabilization Units, Residential Treatment Facilities, and Residential Treatment Centers for Children and Adolescents, must undergo Level 2 screening unless they work less than 10 hours/month and are within the line of sight of an employee that has successfully completed a Level 2. [Reference: 394.4572]

 

  • Volunteers for a hospice provider are considered employees of the hospice in accordance with Rule 58A-2.002(6) and therefore must undergo Level 2 screening if they will provide personal care or services directly to clients or have access to client funds, personal property or living areas.

 

  • Students – Section 394.4572(1), Florida Statutes regarding screening of mental health personnel states that all program directors, professional clinicians, staff members, and volunteers working in public or private mental health programs and facilities who have direct contact with individuals held for examination or admitted for mental health treatment must undergo Level 2 screening in accordance with section 435.04 and section 408.809, F.S. with the exception of students who are interning in a mental health facility licensed under chapter 395, where the primary purpose of the facility is not the treatment of minors. These individuals are exempt from the screening requirements if they are under direct supervision in the actual physical presence of a licensed health care professional.

     

     

    The Agency for Health Care Administration does not have statutory authority to screen students interning with a health care provider other than in the situation described above.

  • Children under Age 18 – The law does not change based on the age of the employee/contractor. If a child under 18 years of age meets the definition of one of the positions above he/she must undergo the same screening as a person over age 18.
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Who is Required to be Screened

 

Facility/Service Type Owner / Administrator Financial Officer Employees and Contractors Providing Personal Care/ Services Employees that have access to client property, funds or living areas
Abortion Clinics 

 

 

 

Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Birth Centers

Clinical Laboratories

Performing Non-waived Testing (including physician performed microscopic tests)

Drug Free Workplace

Multiphasic Health Testing Centers

Organ Procurement Organizations, Tissue Banks, Eye Banks

Level 2 Level 2 n/a n/a
Adult Day Care Centers 

 

 

 

Adult Family Care Homes

Assisted Living Facilities

Health Care Service Pools

Home Health Agencies

Homemaker/Sitter/Companion

Home Medical Equipment Providers

Homes for Special Services

Hospice

Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled

**

Nurse Registries

Nursing Homes

Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care

Transitional Living Facilities

Level 2 Level 2 (excluding Adult Family Care Homes) Level 2 Level 2 

 

 

 

(Volunteers working in a Hospice are considered employees and are required to undergo Level 2 screening)

Community Mental Health 

 

 

 

Crisis Stabilization Units **

Residential Treatment Centers for Children and Adolescents

**

Residential Treatment Facilities **

Short Term Residential Treatment Facilities **

Level 2 

 

 

 

(excludes Community Mental Health)

Level 2 

 

 

 

(excludes Community Mental Health)

Level 2 Level 2 

 

 

 

(includes volunteers unless they work less than 10 hours/month as long as the volunteer is within the line of sight of an employee that has successfully completed a Level 2.)

Health Care Clinics Level 2 

 

 

 

(includes owners with 5% or more interest in the clinic)

Level 2 Level 2 Level 2
Hospitals Level 2 Level 2 Level 2 (only applies to staff working within mental health or psychiatric centers)
Risk Managers Level 2 ** ** **
** These providers may request screenings to be reviewed through the Agency for Health Care Administration

 

 

 

 

OR the Department of Children and Families

Categories
AHCA Background Screening APD Background Screening DCF Background Screening

Level 2 Background Screening for Hospitals in Florida

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.

 

The Letter

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.

 

Best regards,

IDENTICO LLC

Office: (954) 239-8590

Fax: (954) 367-2256

www.myidentico.com