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Level 2 Background Screening – Your License Depends on It!

level 2 background screeningBy: Susan St. John

Providers licensed or regulated by the Agency for Health Care Administration must make certain that their employees and/or contracted personnel have had Level 2 Background Screening (criminal history background check) pursuant to Florida Statutes and Administrative Code within 10 business days of being hired. Also, if a potential employee or contractor has not been employed within the previous 90 days, even if that individual previously had level 2 background screening, the individual will need to go through submitting fingerprints again. Further, each employee or contracted individual that is subject to Level 2 Background Screening must renew the background screening every 5 years to be eligible for employment or continued employment with an AHCA licensed or regulated provider.

Fingerprint Retention Period

The 5 year expiration from the date of retention of fingerprints is the date that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) will purge fingerprints from storage, meaning if fingerprint retention renewal has not occurred prior to this date, the whole screening process, that is fingerprinting, etc., starts over. There is no “grace period” if fingerprints have been purged, which means the individual is no longer “technically” eligible for employment with an AHCA licensed provider (and perhaps other providers licensed and regulated by other state agencies such as Department of Health, Department of Children and Families, or Department of Elder Affairs). Further if the provider is in the process of an AHCA survey, accreditation survey, or renewal licensure application, not having a current Level 2 Background Screening for an employee or contractor might subject the provider to a statement of deficiency, assessment of administrative fines or fees, or denial of a licensure renewal application.

The period for renewing an individual’s fingerprint retention opens up 60 days prior to the 5-year expiration date and, to allow for processing time, closes 14 days before the 5-year expiration date. Until recently, the 5 year expiration date on an individual’s personal profile with AHCA’s Background Screening Clearinghouse was 5 years from the date of the initial (or most recent if a 90+ day lapse in employment) background screening. AHCA recently changed the 5 year expiration date on a personal profile to be 14 days prior to the 5 year expiration date to accommodate the Clearinghouse Renewal process should a provider or individual need to request renewal.

AHCA Resources for Level 2 Background Screening

To help providers stay current with respect to employee or contractor Level 2 Background Screening, AHCA will send a provider notices at the 60, 30, and 21 day mark prior to the 5 year expiration date. However, in order to receive these notices or alerts from AHCA, a provider needs to ensure that its Employee/Contractor Roster is kept current on the Clearinghouse website. Each time a provider adds an employee or contractor or a group of employees or contractors, the provider should update its Employee/Contractor Roster. Further, the Roster needs to be updated within 10 business days of hiring employees or contractors. Additionally, when an employee or contractor is terminated, the provider should update its Employee/Contractor Roster to reflect the date employment came to an end. Keep in mind that not only is the Employee/Contractor Roster critical to maintain in order to receive renewal notifications from AHCA, maintaining a current Employee/Contractor Roster is required by statute.

Costs Related to Fingerprint Retention Renewal Process

Stay Alert – if a provider (or individual) does not initiate the fingerprint retention renewal process through the Clearinghouse by the end of the 14th day prior to the 5 year expiration date, the employee or contractor will need to be re-fingerprinted by a Live Scan Provider, and fingerprints resubmitted to AHCA for background checking purposes. There is additional cost involved in having to “start over,” Renewal Cost = $42.00; New Screening Cost = $75.00. Timely renewal will save money and help ensure a provider does not have an “ineligible” individual in its employ.

AHCA’s Background Screening Clearinghouse website has robust information and instructions to help providers stay compliant with required Level 2 Background Screening for employees or contractors. The following links to AHCA’s Background Screening Website includes frequently asked questions and a Renewal Instruction Guide to assist providers with the renewal process.

To help ensure compliance with Level 2 Background Screening requirements, keep your Employee/Contractor Roster updated and stay alert to AHCA’s fingerprint retention renewal notifications.