Providers and entities are now using NETStudy 2.0 which includes use of:
Use of NETStudy 2.0 improved background studies in the following ways:
The bill that amended the Department of Human Services Background Studies Act - Minnesota Statues, chapter 245C was signed into law by Governor Dayton on May 16, 2014. The legislation was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. The law supported the background study enhancements, including requiring the use of fingerprints to complete state criminal record checks. Expansion of FBI authority was not included in the final amendment that was passed in 2014.
The amended law for the background study enhancements did not change who was required to have a background study, when it was to be submitted, or what may disqualify a person.
• Fingerprints and photos required
When fingerprints and a photograph are required for background studies, they must be completed at a DHS authorized location. The fingerprint and photo process should take about five-to-ten minutes and is completed by a trained technician. The fingerprint images are transmitted through a secure system to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and in some cases when required by law, the fingerprints are also transmitted securely to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a criminal record search. Criminal history results, if any, are then electronically sent to DHS.
• Map of fingerprint and photo service locations
You can find fingerprint locations near you by selecting the region you are in on the map. This will take you to a list of locations that includes the address and hours available for fingerprinting.
If you want to save the URL, save this one of the map of locations. If you save a specific region or location’s information, the URL will not update and you may miss important change information, such as location closures or changes in hours.
• Fingerprints and photo fee and vendor information
The fingerprinting and photo service fee is $9.10 at all DHS authorized locations. In most cases, this is a one-time process in a person's career for a DHS background study.
Information about fingerprint and photo locations, including addresses and hours of operation, is available on Cogent's webpage.
• Information for background study subjects
You may select from over 60 statewide locations to have your fingerprints and photo taken. A list of the fingerprint and photo service locations is available on the Cogent website. The entity that initiated your background study will give you a Fingerprint Authorization Form that includes the information you need for the fingerprint and photo service.
When you go to the fingerprint and photo service location you MUST bring both your Fingerprint Authorization Form AND your driver's license, government-issued ID, or other acceptable form of identification.
It is very important to be sure that your name and date of birth on the Fingerprint Authorization Form is exactly the same as the information on your identification.
If the information on the Fingerprint Authorization Form does not match your identification document, contact the place that requested the background study and have them correct it. If the information on the form does not exactly match your identification, you will be turned away at the fingerprint and photo location.
You have up to 14 days to be fingerprinted and photographed. Sometimes the place that requested the background study wants you to go sooner. Let the place that requested your background study know if there is a reason that you cannot go to be fingerprinted and photographed in the 14 day period.
If the place that requested your background study did not pay for the fingerprinting and photo service, you will need to pay the $9.10 fee. Payment can be made:
1. Online using a credit or debit card at Cogent; this site can also be accessed using mobile devices
2. By phone using a credit card or debit card by calling the Cogent Call Center toll free at 1-844-332-7671 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST; or
3. At the fingerprint and photo location by check or money order. Cash is NOT accepted at the fingerprint and photo locations.
• Fingerprint and photo retention
Fingerprints are not retained by DHS or the BCA, but will be retained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in cases where an FBI check is required. Photographs are transmitted through a secure system to DHS and are available in NETStudy 2.0. Fingerprints and photo images are not retained by or available to the fingerprint and photo service location.
• How fingerprints will be used
The fingerprints will be used to obtain criminal history information on the background study subject from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and in some cases, the FBI.. 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 retains them.
• Entities interested in purchasing equipment for fingerprinting and reporting fingerprinting problems
• Fingerprint vendor, issues, or problems
3M Cogent was selected as the statewide fingerprint vendor for DHS background studies in 2014 through a competitive bidding process. 3M subsequently sold its identity management services (including its fingerprinting services) to Gemalto, an international business in digital security
Email email@example.com to request an account. Background Study Division staff will send you the information needed to establish a NETStudy 2.0 account. The process includes completion of two electronic forms and the information includes instructions on how to complete the process.
1. The Authorized Agent who is a license holder, controlling individual, or managing employee must complete and return a systems access agreement. That agreement also identifies who the background study sensitive information person (SIP) will be for each license or program. The same person can be the SIP for all or some of the licenses or programs.
2. The SIP will then receive a system access agreement that must be completed and returned.
After these forms are returned to DHS electronically, user accounts are established for the SIP and the SIP receives two emails. One email has account access information and the other email has the person’s password. The emails are sent separately for added security.
Entities can add users and control their level of access in NETStudy 2.0. Once the SIP account is established, the SIP has control over the entities users and can add accounts based on what the user will be doing in the system. Information on how to setup these accounts can be found the NETStudy 2.0 Onboarding Guide. The guide was developed for entities that were transitioning from the prior NETStudy system. However, entities that are opening NETStudy 2.0 accounts may find the guide helpful. Additional training materials are under the HELP feature in the NETStudy 2.0.
Additionally, a YouTube video was developed to assist entities in the transition to NETStudy 2.0. The video describes the overall process and options about how entities may want to design their background study sensitive information structure. Entities that are establishing a new NETStudy 2.0 account may find much of this information helpful.
If you are not sure whether your program or entity is required to submit background study requests to DHS, you may review Minnesota Statues, subd. 245C.03.
Or, you may contact the authority that issues your license or registration. This is usually the DHS Licensing Division or the Department of Health. In some cases, it is the Department of Transportation or the Department of Corrections. For unlicensed services under DHS, contact Provider Enrollment or Group Residential Housing policy.
There are some background studies that DHS completes under contracts or other agreements. These account for a very small portion of background studies some of these have not transitioned to NETStudy 2.0, including studies conducted for:
NETStudy 2.0 training is web-based and free. There are several YouTube videos available that demonstrate how to initiate a background study request in NETStudy 2.0 as well as all other key features of the system. It is easiest to follow along with the videos after you have a NETStudy 2.0 account.
Training materials also include the NETStudy 2.0 User Manual that provides detailed instructions, including screenshots and user tips about how to use NETStudy 2.0 and the NETStudy 2.0 Quickstart Guide that provides screen shots to show users how to enter a background study request.
Exception. Background study staff will provide background study numbers for people whose most recent background study was completed in or after 1995 (when all background studies were required to be updated) and before 2000. This is because there is no background study number on the background study notice for these individuals. There is additional information in the NETStudy Import Process User Guide and a form in the appendix to use to request the background study numbers in this cases.
Benefits of completing the process – It is required
There are several reasons complete NETStudy 2.0 rosters are important, including that:
Several training and technical assistance support options are available at no cost. Most are web-based and available at any time. Training and support materials, including a comprehensive user guide, You Tube videos.
Implementation time line and notice to begin.
Entities will be contacted during 2018 to start the import process. The background study sensitive information person (SIP) will be contacted by email and provided detailed information. In general, the notice process is automated in NETStudy 2.0 and is not manually controlled by background study staff. This means that staff will not be able to inform you when your entity will need to begin the process and it is not based on provider type because most programs provide services under more than one program type.
However, large providers (i.e., those with more than 50 licenses/organization numbers) and hospitals are expected to receive the notice to begin the import process before May 2018. This is because these programs have six months to complete the process. All other entities have 45 days to complete the process.
Answers to many questions can be found in this searchable PDF of frequently asked questions (PDF).
Currently, FBI record checks are only required for certain background studies. In the present system, information from the BCA can identify when criminal history records may exist in another state. However, the information is only available if the person also has a criminal record in Minnesota and the record check is completed using the person’s fingerprints. This means that some people with criminal records in another state may clear a background study because DHS is not informed of those records. 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.
The benefits of including FBI record checks for all background studies is to receive criminal history information, if applicable, from other states for background study subjects that do not have a record with the BCA. This provides a more comprehensive study. Additionally, for some providers, it would eliminate the need for completing additional background checks and the related costs.
It also would provide the opportunity to receive updated criminal history information (sometimes referred to as rap back) from the FBI if a background study subject affiliated with an entity committed a crime in another state.
Changes in state law would be required to expand FBI record checks and FBI rap back.
DHS pursued feedback from stakeholders for developing the new NETStudy 2.0 system beginning in 2013. The feedback was used to design the new background study process and the related legislative amendments. Additionally, DHS staff attended conferences and meetings throughout 2014 and 2015 to share information about the background study changes and solicit feedback and ideas. Beginning in fall 2014, many of these presentations and meetings included demonstrations of NETStudy 2.0 in development.
Between July and October 2014, DHS held overview and feedback meetings in nine statewide locations. A recording of the presentation is available online as a YouTube video and PowerPoint presentation.
In October 2014, 3M Cogent opened a survey to entities and background study subjects to provide feedback about the statewide fingerprint and photo service. Results of that survey are available online.
In July 2014, DHS worked with a group of providers licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health to pilot test NETStudy 2.0. DHS later expanded the pilot by adding several programs licensed by DHS. On April 6, 2015, the pilot providers began submitting fingerprint based background study requests in NETStudy 2.0. Several enhancements to NETStudy 2.0 have been made based on feedback from these pilot providers.
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.
DHS identified five goals for using the funds:
Goals one-through-three are met, and most of goal four is met with the implementation of NETStudy 2.0. Goal five requires legislative authorization to expand FBI record checks.
DHS’ grant was extended through July 2018. Until that time, work on systems enhancements and additional functions will continue.
Updates about the changes to background study processes and implementation of NETStudy 2.0 are communicated through notices in the system and to people on the background study email list. You can subscribe to the background study email list.
Questions about the background study changes and NETStudy 2.0 may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org