Durham Tech Student Criminal Background Check

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 (clinical agencies) with whom the college has contracted to provide clinical training and experience to the college’s Health Technologies students. These clinical agencies, 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, RIBN, 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?

If the student has any criminal convictions during the relevant period, that information will be made available by the vendo to the representative of the clinical agency 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 made available to the clinical agencies 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 (NOTE: the reason for denial of clinical placement will not be communicated to program faculty or administration). 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 clinical agencies, they too, will adhere to confidentiality guidelines already in place for their own employees and volunteers with respect to the handling of this information.

To protect the confidentiality of the clinical agencies, students will not be told which clinical sites denied their clinical placement or appeal.

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 a cost effective and 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). If the program requires a drug screen, you will also need to obtain a chain of custody form. 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 the Health Technologies office as we do not retain copies of the reports or appeals.

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 if required by the clinical agency or program.

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 entering the program or from a different vendor; 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. CBC or drug screen results obtained via a different process or vendor will not be accepted. Furthermore, students are responsible for observing all timelines for completing this information for the program.

What if a student does not comply with the requirements described above?

The clinical agencies 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?

Clinical agencies 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 clinical agencies, and the clinical agencies agreed to inform the college of any individuals with a criminal background of a decision to deny any students placement into the clinical agency. If a clinical agency denies a student placement, the college will then make the student aware of the clinical agency’s decision.

If a student has a criminal background, when will the student learn of the clinical agencies’s decision?

As soon as the clinical agency notify the college, the college notifies the student in writing via mail. We will not provide students with information regarding the specific clinical agencies that deny clinical placement.

What if a clinical agency refuses a clinical practicum for a student through their facility?

If the clinical agency 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 not be able to progress in the program and may be dismissed from that program (depending on program policy).

What guidelines will clinical agencies follow in determining the type of criminal activity that would prohibit a student from participating in the required clinical component of a program?

Clinical agencies reserve the right not to accept any student who has a criminal background or positive drug screen. Clinical agencies 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).

May I appeal the clinical agency decision?

Yes. Students are allowed one appeal to the clinical agency to request a reversal of the decision to deny clinical placement. To do this, the student must complete the Clinical Agency Denial Appeals Form and write a letter of explanation regarding the charges or positive drug screen results. Durham Tech personnel are not authorized to tell the student what to include in the letter as they are not privy to the CBC results. Durham Tech is not permitted to receive or transmit protected health information or photographs. This request must be submitted within 5 working days of the initial notification that clinical placement has been denied.

The form and supporting information should be provided to Ms. Sandra Grady Health Technologies, Department Secretary. Ms. Grady will send the appeal to the clinical site requesting a review of the information. The student will be notified in writing if the appeal is accepted or denied. If the appeal is denied, the student will be unable to successfully complete that Program, as the Programís clinical objectives cannot be met, and the student will not be able to progress in the program and may be dismissed from that Program (depending on specific program requirements). The names of the clinical facilities that accept or deny the appeal will not be disclosed.

Clinical agencies 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).

8. Upcoming court dates; progress on expungement of charges, etc.

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 clinical agency for review and another criminal background check may be required at the student’s expense. The clinical agencies, 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 specific 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.