DHS Considering Return to Fingerprint-Based Background Studies

LeadingAge Minnesota recently learned that Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is proposing to return to fully-compliant, fingerprint-based background studies process sometime in the near future.

As of today, there have been no changes to the current waiver, and providers may still hire applicants under the modified background studies requirement. We want to make you aware of our advocacy efforts on this issue, as we see it having a significant impact on workforce.

LeadingAge MN and the LTC Imperative has expressed concern to DHS and has called on lawmakers to act in the September Special Legislative Session to pass legislation to ensure that current waivers remain in effect until 60 days after the expiration of the peacetime emergency. Click here to read the letters we have sent to DHS and to lawmakers. We are concerned that returning to a full fingerprint requirement at this time will negatively impact senior care providers’ ability to hire new staff or retain current staff hired under the waiver.

LeadingAge MN and the LTC Imperative have also called on policymakers to ensure there are enough resources available to address the backlog when the waiver expires. Approximately 48,000 people (across all study types) have completed emergency background studies since April 6, and the number continues to grow. A person who received clearance to work through an emergency study will be disqualified from working unless s/he clears a fully compliant study within 60 days of the expiration of the waiver. This creates a bottleneck problem (first time study subjects and emergency study subjects entering NETStudy 2.0 over the same 60-day period) that grows in magnitude as the number of emergency studies grows.

Moreover, there is a significantly reduced number of fingerprinting stations that will be operational once the state returns to a fingerprint-based background study process, which will make it difficult for the impacted workers to come into compliance within the available limited period of time. Prior to the pandemic, it was the goal of DHS to ensure enough fingerprinting stations throughout the state so that no provider site is located more than 40 miles from a fingerprinting location. Recent data shows that the current number of fingerprinting locations falls far below that standard.

Stay tuned for additional updates on this emerging issue and our advocacy efforts.

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