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When most people think of a background check they think of a simple criminal history check. In reality, a background check is much more than that. It’s the process by which you find your best candidate by looking at, yes, criminal records, but also education and employment history, civil records, references, etc. Each is a very important piece of the puzzle.

A background check helps your company stay safe through the criminal history check. It helps ensure that applicants can do what they claim they can through employment and education verification. It verifies that applicants are who they claim to be and aren’t wanted internationally. Background screenings, background checks, pre-employment screenings – call them what you will, they help protect your company, your employees, and your clients.

First and foremost, you should run background checks to help keep your clients, your employees and your business safe. Lack of background checks, or poorly done background checks, can lead to horrific crimes. The sad fact is that people rape, people murder, people steal. You don’t want anyone to experience that, but you have a responsibility to protect your clients and your employees. Protection of your employees is imperative in any business.

A 2005 survey found that 2.3% of all businesses experience some form of co-worker violence, ranging from .6% to 8.1% for businesses with up to 250 employees and up to 34.1% for businesses with 1000+ total employees. In addition, a 2006 survey discovered that 13% of all workplace fatalities were caused by assaults and violent acts. This includes homicides, which accounted for 9% of all workplace fatalities.

Another very important factor is protection of your customers. In an article appearing on bnet, the Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, the author cited a case in which an unnamed company hired Jesse Rogers as a home healthcare aide without running a background check. Rogers, who had a number of larceny convictions, killed the 32-year-old quadriplegic and 77-year-old woman he was supposed to be caring for in an attempt to cover up additional thefts.

Claiming that the failure to run a background check was negligence in hiring, the parents of the 32-year-old successfully sued the company for $26.5 million in 1999. Even aside from lawsuits, failure to complete background screenings can cost the company. According to the 2010 National Retail Security Survey, 45% of all retail shrinkage is due to employees – an annual price tag of about $15.9 billion. Moreover, the same study found that the average employee theft was over $960, while the average shoplifting incident was just $337. In addition, a non-industry specific study released in late 2008 found that 24% of respondents saw a rise in employee theft following the economic downturn.

Monetary repercussions can come through more circuitous routes as well. According to the book Freakonomics, an estimated 50% of the population lie on their resumes. In addition, according to available data, about 50% of all references checked in 2004 contained inaccurate information.

These cause monetary loss when your new employees cannot perform the services they claimed they could, or when the news breaks that your CEO never actually graduated college. The negative media attention hurts your company as well. All of these facts point to a distinct need for background screenings.

While we all wish we could trust in the basic goodness of humankind, background checks are a critical way to protect the many facets of your business that need to be protected.

A number of industries, especially those that require the handling of other people’s personal and private information, require background screenings. These include the home healthcare, financial, and insurance industries among others. But even if your business does not operate in or provides services to these industries, there are still enough crucial reasons to run them.

The industry standard is to perform background checks on contingent job offer and not before. A large factor in this is that over 40 local jurisdictions across the US utilize “ban-the-box” initiatives to eliminate employment barriers for qualified job-seekers with criminal backgrounds. Many ban-the-box laws prohibit inquiries about criminal history on job applications and prevent use of a background check until the final stages of hiring. In addition to pre-hire background checks, the industry best practice is to perform background checks upon promotion or transfer from one job class to another with different requirements, and periodically during tenure (every year or so).

Yes, you do. If you want to order and review any kind of background check in order to determine somebody’s eligibility for employment, you need to ask their permission. Two forms specifically must be completed by the applicant, the authorization and the disclosure.

As with anything, how long the screenings take depends on which specific service you choose and how that service is done. Many searches simply require the company to enter the relevant information into a database, yielding instant results. However, most services take longer due to the need for a live record search. A few services require a combination of database and live searches and some take a more unique approach.

Instant, database-driven searches include criminal history searches, credit history, name and address history, national security lists, sex offender registry and SSN verification/trace searches, while live searches include county, state and federal criminal history.

Some services require phone interviews. Those include education and employment verification as well as reference checks. How long each of these services takes also depends on a few other factors.

Another factor to consider is which company you choose. A company that has an interface with a county will take less time to search that court than a company that has to send someone to the physical courthouse. Then you have to consider where you are requesting the information from. Records from a Department of Motor Vehicles can be accessed instantly in many states, but can take three days in others.

The most important contributing factor (aside from how information is gathered) is the difference between hits and clears. For instance, many companies, that run a criminal database check, will know instantly if there is no record. However, depending on the type of search ordered, if the database returns a hit, the information may need to be verified before it can be passed on.

The FRCA limits bankruptcies to 10 years and civil lawsuits, judgments, tax liens, collection amounts and any other adverse information (excluding criminal convictions) to 7 years unless you have legal authorization to access records farther back. Criminal convictions are the only source of information which has no federal limitation. That being said, just because the federal government has no limitation regarding criminal convictions, that does not mean that the states also do not have a limitation. Many states have enacted a more restrictive version of the FCRA. In California, for example, criminal convictions can only be reported for 7 years. For this reason, the industry standard is to only go back 7 years unless specifically agreed upon to do otherwise.
How long do screenings typically take and how are they done?

VettFirst Security utilizes a combination of online and offline security technologies, procedures and organizational measures to help safeguard consumer information against loss, misuse, and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction.

We employ Secure Socket Layer (SSL) data encryption when data is transmitted over the Internet to our web site.

We have installed layered firewalls and other security technologies to help prevent unauthorized access to our systems.

Strong password protection protocols are used on our computers, and employees are kept up-to-date on our security and privacy policies. The servers used to store consumer information are maintained in a secure environment with appropriate security measures.

Population data needs to be entered into a CSV (Comma Separated Values) template that’s provided by VettFirst Security then submitted through vettfirst.com or through our SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) site. We also offer several API integration’s which can accept data and return results.

VettFirst Security can monitor your populations Annually, Semi-Annually, Quarterly, Monthly, or even continuously which reviews your population daily for any new data that’s retrieved from a primary source.

FACIS® Levels

FACIS® is separated into four levels that allow you to screen employees and vendors against different primary sources for exclusions, debarments, sanctions, and disciplinary actions.

FACIS® Level 1 meets the federal government’s minimum requirements as outlined in the OIG’s Compliance Program Guidance and includes: OIG, GSA, DEA, FDA, PHS, ORI, TRICARE and OFAC-SDN data (federal only) and Medicare Opt-Out.

FACIS® Level 1M is the recommended baseline and minimally required compliance search for candidates employed by organizations receiving government funding and includes: FACIS® Level 1 plus State Medicaid sanctions, 42 HEAT sources and 51 AG Notice and Release sources, and state level procurement/contractor debarment sources.

FACIS® Level 2 brings into focus a specified state and includes: FACIS® Level 1 / 1M as well as additional state-level board / source information for one specified state.

FACIS® Level 3 is the gold standard of sanction and exclusionary searches and includes: All sources included in FACIS 1 / 1M / 2 and the sanctioning boards from all 56 U.S. jurisdictions across all provider types. This accesses more than 3,000 sources.

At a minimum, FACIS® Level 1M, satisfies the recommendations set forth by the OIG and CMS by screening employees for federal and state exclusions and debarments, however many of our clients feel that the best practice is to take a more assertive approach by monitoring employees through FACIS® Level 3, because it protects them from the potential negative ramifications of employing individuals or vendors who are sanctioned by a state level licensing board.

FACIS® (Fraud and Abuse Control Information System) is a database that is comprised of current and historical records on health care providers, individuals and entities who have been sanctioned, debarred, excluded, or disciplined by federal or state government regulatory bodies and state-level licensing boards.

FACIS®, License Searches, Verified License Searches, the Abuse Registry, and the Sex Offender Registry.

Yes, employers can be held civilly and criminally liable if they facilitate unsafe patient care by employing health care professionals who have been sanctioned by a state licensing board due to unprofessional conduct.

Monitoring provides updated information on license statuses that ensures that your employees are qualified and in good standing to practice medicine.

Monitoring is an automated process, offered by Select Data Solutions, that screens employees and vendors for exclusions, debarments, and board disciplinary actions through FACIS® on an ongoing basis, which fulfills the recommendation of frequently screening employees and vendors for exclusions by the OIG and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Confirmed matches show whether or not the FACIS® record is current or historical, a description of how the verification was performed, and a pdf copy of the original action as well as a copy of the provider’s license if the action was taken by a state licensing board.

Records are returned as either confirmed matches or non matches. However, sometimes VettFirst Security reports records as Unable To Determine (UTD) which are usually due to insufficient data provided for the individual or entity being searched or insufficient primary source data from the FACIS®record.

Throught partnership with Verisys a Certified Verification Organization, (CVO) and is fully certified by the NCQA for 10 out of 10 verification services. Our verifications are performed by a team of specially trained analysts who have an accuracy rate of more than 99%.

Our experienced analysts conduct extensive research on the candidate and the FACIS® provider by gathering as much information as they can through primary sources to rule out / verify potential matches.

MedPasses contain all of the credentials and information needed by a medical staff, insurance company, or employer including:

  • State and business licenses
  • Board specialties and certifications
  • DEA and other registrations
  • Liability coverage
  • Office location, staff, services
  • Work history
  • Health care affiliation
  • Academic and hospital appointments
  • Insurance, practice and personal health disclosures
  • Peer reference contacts
  • Professional associations
  • Awards and commendations
  • Medical education and training

Verifications are recommended when a search of a candidate returns multiple FACIS® records that are considered probable matches.

No, verifications aren’t automatically included in FACIS® searches unless they’re requested upon submission, however they can be added to an initial search within seven business days after results are returned.

Yes, in fact the continuous monitoring of the credentialing data occurs through FACIS® and License Verifications, which adds the extra benefit of ensuring that providers aren’t excluded and that their licenses continue to be in good standing.

MedPasses contain all of the credentials and information needed by a medical staff, insurance company, or employer including:

  • State and business licenses
  • Board specialties and certifications
  • DEA and other registrations
  • Liability coverage
  • Office location, staff, services
  • Work history
  • Health care affiliations
  • Academic and hospital appointments
  • Insurance, practice and personal health disclosures
  • Peer reference contacts
  • Professional associations
  • Awards and commendations
  • Medical education and training

VettFirst Security credentials Medical providers through Verisys’s CheckMedic, which is a paperless, web-based solution that includes a verified and secure MedPass for each provider.

Employees and vendors are submitted through a FACIS® (Fraud and Abuse Control Information System) search, which screens them against thousands of disciplinary records collected from primary sources, on health care providers who have had an adverse action taken against them by a federal or state government regulatory body or state licensing board.

Employers are responsible for providing patients with safe, reliable care. Those who fail to monitor or take the appropriate action against health care providers who have received a board sanction, are fostering an environment that puts patients at risk, which can result in criminal and civil liabilities.

Not always. Sanctions are usually a result of some sort of professional misconduct which may or may not be severe enough to result in an exclusion.

A state board sanction is a disciplinary action that’s taken against an individual by a state licensing board. The severity of a sanction ranges from placing the provider on probation to a complete revocation of their license.

Screening for state board sanctions ensures that you’re not employing unlicensed or disciplined providers that put your organization at risk for fines and liability.

Anyone can be excluded by the OIG, even the cashier at your local pharmacy, so it’s important to be proactive and screen all of your employees, not just those who provide patient care.

The basics are:

  • candidate’s full name (first , middle and last name)
  • full date of birth
  • Social Security Number

Criminal records are NOT identified by Social Security Number, but it may be used in other pieces of the background check.

Anyone can be excluded by the OIG, even the cashier at your local pharmacy, so it’s important to be proactive and screen all of your employees, not just those who provide patient care.

Yes, the impact of an exclusion stretches beyond the individual or entity and is applicable to anyone who employs or contracts them while receiving government funds.

An exclusion is an action taken by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) that prohibits an individual or entity from participating in any health care program that receives federal funds.

Screening employees for exclusions protects your organization from civil monetary penalties of thousands, if not millions of dollars, which are levied by the OIG against organizations who employ excluded providers or vendors while receiving payments through a federal health care program.

A federal exclusion is an action taken against an individual or entity by the OIG that excludes them from participating in Medicare and all other Federal health care programs. State exclusions are actions taken by individual states that prevent an individual or entity from receiving state Medicaid funds.

It’s important to note that not all state exclusions are reported to the OIG, so it’s beneficial to screen employees and vendors through all available federal and state exclusions lists.

he background verification is a key milestone to helping candidates get hired. Employers engage Select Data to conduct background verification.

Please note that VettFirst Security does not make the hiring decision, and cannot provide you with details as to the reasoning behind your prospective employer’s hiring decision. For the status of your candidacy for employment, you should contact the hiring company directly.

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