DHS Resumes Fingerprint-Based Background Studies Today
On October 21, 2020 by Jonathan Lips
The MN Department of Human Services (DHS) returned to fingerprint-based background studies as of 6:00 a.m. this morning (Oct. 21), and employers are no longer able to submit emergency background studies.
Click here for a map of Minnesota Fingerprint Locations and Hours. Site locations are updated daily.
This change affects adult day programs, home care/assisted living, boarding care, nursing homes and many other provider types. See the DHS background studies COVID-19 webpage for details, including a link to frequently asked questions.
The return to standard background studies will affect both new hires and individuals hired in recent months. This is because all individuals who have only had an emergency study, and who remain affiliated with your entity, must have a new study with a photograph and fingerprint.
Entities can access their rosters in NETStudy 2.0 to view a list of study subjects who are required to have a new background study. DHS provides these technical tips:
- In NETStudy 2.0, the Roster page can be filtered by determination status. However, even when filtering by determination, it will show all determinations, including those that are regular studies and those that are emergency studies (COVID-19).
- To identify only the COVID-19 studies, you may export your roster to an Excel spreadsheet and use Excel to filter on COVID-19 emergency studies. To use Excel to identify the list of study subjects on your roster who have had emergency studies, follow the steps in the “Export Your Roster to an Excel File” document located in the Help section in NETStudy 2.0. This is helpful for entities that cannot easily identify the studies because of the number of people on their rosters.
However, it is important to know that those existing employees do not have to complete a new study immediately. Studies for staff who only have an emergency study for your entity must be submitted no later than 60-days after the expiration of the Peacetime Emergency as declared by Governor Walz. The current Peacetime Emergency period runs through Nov. 12, which means fully-compliant studies would be required by Jan. 11, 2021. If the Governor extends the Peacetime Emergency by another thirty days (e.g. to Dec. 12, 2020), the validity of the emergency studies would also be extended by thirty days, making the deadline Feb. 10, 2021. And so on, for as long as the Peacetime Emergency continues.
For this reason, DHS is asking employers to first prioritize new background study applicants (those who had not received an emergency study), and then as fingerprinting capacity increases, begin submitting background study applications for study subjects who have already submitted an emergency study.
We will continue to press DHS to work on restoring fingerprinting site capacity to what it was prior to COVID. In the meantime, some members have asked if it is still possible to purchase a Gemalto LiveScan system for private use – in other words, to complete the fingerprint and photo requirement for background study requests initiated by your entity only. The answer is yes, and this Gemalto flyer provides high-level information about that option. For additional details, contact Ms. Michael-Ann (Mickey) Brown, Inside Sales & Maintenance Representative, Thales (email@example.com). Members should be aware that DHS may elect to contract with a different fingerprinting vendor in the next year; if that occurs, we assume the Gemalto technology would no longer be compatible with NETStudy 2.0.
Please contact Jon Lips, VP of Legal & Regulatory Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any challenges you encounter during this transition, and we will use your input to inform our work with DHS.