Changes to the background study process include the use of:
The primary goal of the background study changes is to improve consumer protections by increasing the accuracy and completeness of background studies. A major change that supports this goal is the use fingerprints to obtain criminal history information instead of using name and date of birth to obtain this information.
The changes will also:
Improve the accuracy of studies
Increase efficiencies and allow faster hiring for employers and employees
Adds data privacy protections
Address these issues in the current background study system
The processes and systems that are being developed will result in:
The processes and systems that are being developed will:
Once the background study changes go into effect through use of NETStudy™ 2.0, DHS will no longer use fingerprint cards (with some very limited exceptions). Instead, DHS has selected 3M Cogent to provide the statewide infrastructure for fingerprinting for people needing a DHS background study. The fingerprinting locations will be available throughout Minnesota so that background study subjects should not need to drive more than 40 miles one way from their home or work. A fee of $9.10 will be charged for the fingerprinting and photographing service, which, in most cases, will only need to be done one time in a person's career.
Beginning in 2015, people seeking a position with a new employer will provide their fingerprints and have their photo taken at one of the new locations around the state by a trained and certified technician. The fingerprint and photo session is expected to last about five to ten minutes. The image will be transmitted through a secure system to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The fingerprints will not be retained by DHS or the BCA, but, in cases where a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) check is required, the fingerprints will be retained by the FBI. Criminal history results, if any, will then be electronically transmitted to DHS and over 90% of the background studies are expected to be completed within a few hours after the person is fingerprinted and photographed. Fingerprints and photo images will be purged from the fingerprint collection location within an hour of the information being submitted to the state.
3M Cogent's website provides information about each location, including addresses and hours of operation. Cogent
The fingerprints will be used to obtain criminal history information on the background study subject from the BCA. Use of fingerprints is more accurate and will identify criminal history information that may be missed using a name and date of birth search. It will also be much faster for people who have common names and who experience delays in getting their study completed due to the extra research necessary to ensure that the record does or does not apply to the study subject.
For some people, the fingerprints will also be used to complete an FBI record check. An FBI record check is required for people whose:
The fingerprints will not be retained by DHS or the BCA. If the fingerprints are submitted to the FBI, the FBI may retain them.
Legislative authority is required for DHS to expand the FBI record checks to all background study subjects. Currently, FBI record checks are only required in certain circumstances.
Currently, information from the BCA is used to identify when criminal history records in another state may exist. However, the information is only available if the person also has a criminal record in Minnesota. Consequently, some people with criminal records in another state may clear a background study. If FBI record checks were required for all background studies, criminal records in other states would be reported to DHS even if the person did not have a criminal record in Minnesota.
Implementation of the changes to DHS background study processes began in June of 2014 when a group of entities began submitting background studies in NETStudy 2.0 to pilot test the system. DHS has received considerable feedback from this pilot group and is utilizing this feedback, and feedback from stakeholders, to make refinements and enhancements to NETStudy 2.0 before expanding the rollout to additional users. DHS will contact entities before they are transitioned to NETStudy 2.0 to set up user accounts and provide training and resource information.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) pursued and was awarded a $3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in August 2012 to enhance the background study program. The National Background Check Program (NBCP) helps entities avoid hiring individuals with certain criminal histories by conducting federal- and state-level criminal background checks on people who provide health and human services.
The bill that amends the Department of Human Services Background Studies Act - Minnesota Statues, chapter 245C was signed into law by Governor Dayton on Friday, May 16, 2014. The legislation was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. The law supports the background study enhancements, including requiring the use of fingerprints to complete state criminal record checks through the BCA. It also requires that background study subjects submit fingerprints and a photograph. The changes do not affect when a background study is required or what may disqualify a person. Most people who are currently employed will not be affected unless they change jobs.