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DHS to Resume Fingerprint-Based Background Studies on October 7

The MN Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that it will return to conducting fingerprint-based background studies beginning at 6 a.m. Wed., Oct. 7, 2020, and entities will no longer

be able to submit emergency background studies after that date.

We first learned that DHS was exploring a return to fully-compliant studies in August, and we advocated for DHS to delay until fingerprinting site access was restored to what it was pre-COVID (click here to read the letters we sent to DHS and to lawmakers). In response to advocacy from us and other impacted stakeholders, DHS delayed its action for a time but has now decided to move forward and end the emergency studies.

Details, including frequently asked questions about the return to fully-compliant background studies, are provided on the DHS background studies COVID-19 webpage. 

The return to standard background studies will affect both new hires and individuals hired in recent months. This is because all study subjects with an emergency study who have an Eligible-COVID-19 status or a study pending completion (in process status submitted from April 6, 2020 through 6:00 a.m. on Oct. 7, 2020) and remain affiliated with your entity, must have a new study with a photograph and fingerprint. 

However, it is important to know that those existing employees do not have to complete a new study immediately on October 7. Studies for staff who only have an emergency study for your entity must be submitted not later than 60-days after the expiration of the Peacetime Emergency as declared by Governor Walz. The current Peacetime Emergency period runs through October 12, which means fully-compliant studies would be required by December 11th.  If the Governor extends the Peacetime Emergency by another thirty days (to November 11th), the validity of the emergency studies would also be extended by thirty days, making the deadline January 10th.  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 DHS fingerprinting capacity increases, begin submitting background study applications for study subjects who have already submitted an emergency study.

We met with DHS last Friday to express our serious concerns about the shortage of available fingerprinting sites and the impact it will have on our members ability to onboard new employees. A coalition of affected stakeholders – including LeadingAge MN, Care Providers of MN, the MN Home Care Association, ARRM, and the MN Hospital Association – are advocating for strong action by the State, and the fingerprinting vendor Thales, to assure providers will have sufficient access to fingerprinting sites by Oct. 7, and we will keep you informed on those efforts.

Please contact me (jlips@leadingagemn.org) with your questions and concerns, and we will use your input to inform our work with DHS. As time allows, please review this map of available fingerprint locations and let me know whether a site is currently available within a reasonable distance from your setting.

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