Why is the college requiring criminal background checks for students enrolled in programs that have a required clinical component?
In programs that require a clinical experience, a criminal background check and/or drug test is a requirement of the hospitals and/or health care facilities with whom the college has contracted to provide clinical training and experience to the college’s Health Technologies students. These hospitals and health care facilities, because of their accrediting body, JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) now requires all students and faculty assigned to their sites to have criminal background check and/or drug test. The facilities must be notified of any individuals who have a criminal record.
To whom does this policy apply?
All students enrolled in a program with a clinical component are required to adhere to this policy. In the college's Health Technologies Department, this includes students enrolled in the following programs: Associate Degree Nursing, Clinical Trials Research Associate, Health Information Technology, Medical Assisting, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Pharmacy Technology, Practical Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, and Surgical Technology
What does the criminal background check include?
The criminal background check includes reports from all states where the student has lived from the date they turned eighteen (18) years of age. The drug test is a 12-panel test.
Who is privy to the information provided on the criminal background checks and how is the information stored?
The report generated from the criminal background check will be obtained by the Health Technologies Department designee. If the student has any criminal convictions during the relevant period, that information will be shared with a representative of the hospitals and/or health care facilities where the student may be assigned. For purposes of this review, all criminal convictions on the report, with the exception of minor traffic violations, will be considered “criminal convictions” and will be forwarded to the hospitals for their consideration. In the event that the student is denied a clinical practicum by one of the facilities, the director of that program will also need to be notified. This information will not be stored at Durham Technical Community College.
The handling of all criminal background records will adhere to guidelines already in place at the college for student and employee record security; to federal laws such as the Privacy Act of 1974; to state laws, including the Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact, notably the provisions of Articles IV and V; and to applicable accreditation standards. When criminal background information is shared with the hospitals, they too, will adhere to confidentiality guidelines already in place for their own employees and volunteers with respect to the handling of this information.
What do students need to do to comply with this requirement?
In selecting a vendor to assist with this process, the college was motivated to identify the least expensive and most convenient service possible and to have uniform reports submitted by all students. To comply with the criminal background checks and/or drug test requirements, students must utilize FirstPoint Information Resources.Students should follow the steps listed below:
1. The student completes the Consent Form and Hold Harmless Agreement (yellow document) and submits the form to the Health Technologies office (901) by the deadline provided. This Consent will permit the College’s to access the background check generated by FirstPoint and to share as necessary with the clinical affiliates.
2. Upon receipt of the Consent Form, the student will be given the FirstPoint contact information (blue document). There is a fee for the background check and/or drug test.
3. Students will not be able to pick up a copy of the background check from this office.
Note: Some clinical assignments may require completion of a State Bureau Investigation (SBI) background check, drug sScreening and fingerprint check. Additional information regarding these requirements will be made available to the student as soon as possible.
What is the cost of the FirstPoint service and who is responsible for paying?
The college has negotiated a reduced fee with FirstPoint Information Resources. The price is between $28 and $81. It is the student's responsibility to pay for this service.
What if a student has completed a criminal background check prior to this request; can the information obtained from it meet this requirement?
No, all students must use the company and follow the process described as well as adhere to the deadlines given to them.
What if a student does not comply with the requirements described above?
The hospitals and/or health care facilities will not allow any student to work in its institution unless the student has provided a criminal background check and/or drug test to the college. Accordingly, failure to consent to release of information or to cooperate appropriately with regard to the investigation process and procedures shall result in the student not being able to progress in that program.
What if the report generated from a student’s criminal background check lists a criminal charge?
Hospitals reserve the right not to accept into their facility for clinical purposes any student who has a criminal background. FirstPoint is required to provide documentation for those students with criminal backgrounds to the hospitals, and the hospitals have agreed to inform the college of any individuals with a criminal background of a decision to deny any students placement into the hospital. If a hospital denies a student placement, the college will then make the student aware of the hospital's decision.
If a student has a criminal background, when will the student learn of the hospital’s decision?
As soon as the hospital(s) notify the college, the college notifies the student.
What if a hospital refuses a clinical practicum for a student through their facility?
If the hospital denies a student placement in their facility, the student will be unable to complete the required clinical component of the course. This will prohibit the student from progressing and completing the program of study successfully. Thus, the student will be dismissed from that program.
What guidelines will hospitals follow in determining the type of criminal activity that would prohibit a student from participating in the required clinical component of a program?
Hospitals reserve the right not to accept any student who has a criminal background. Hospital(s) will determine this on a case-by-case basis considering the following factors:
1. Level and seriousness of the crime(s);
2. Date(s) of the crime(s);
3. Applicant’s age(s) at the time(s) of conviction(s);
4. Circumstances of the crime(s);
5. Connection between the criminal conduct and the job to be filled;
6. The prison, jail, probation, parole, rehabilitation, and employment records of the candidate subsequent to the crime; and
7. Subsequent crime(s) and relevant offense(s).
What should a student do if the student believes that the criminal background check includes false or inaccurate information?
A student who believes that the criminal background check contains false or inaccurate information should bring the matter directly to the attention of FirstPoint Information Resources as soon as possible. The company will attempt to verify the identifying information and re-run the background check.
What if an applicant or student is convicted of any criminal offense(s) subsequent to the date the student has obtained the criminal background check?
If an applicant or student is convicted of any criminal offense(s) other than minor traffic violations, subsequent to the date the student has obtained the criminal background check under this policy, the student is required within three (3) days after such conviction, to contact FirstPoint. This information may then be forwarded to the hospitals for review and another criminal background check may be required at the student’s expense. The hospitals, in their discretion, may elect to deny a student with a newly reported criminal background permission to continue to participate in the clinical experience at their site, which would mean that the student would be unable to complete his or her clinical training and would be dismissed from the program of study.
What if a student has additional questions?
Students may contact Sandra Grady in the Health Technologies Department, at 919-536-7233, ext. 8112, for additional questions
Overview of Tasks to be Completed by Students
Step 1: Complete the consent Form (yellow document) in the Durham Tech/Glaxo Wellcome Technology Center, room 901.
Step 2: Receive directions to contact FirstPoint (blue sheet)
Step 3: Contact FirstPoint and provide payment
Step 4: Step 1, 2, and 3 must be completed by the date on the letter of notification from the program of study.