A-Check Global to Launch New Electronic Form I-9 on January 21, 2017

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In October, A-Check Global announced the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9 to be utilized by employers throughout the country.

 

The new form was recently-released and is now available for use. However, employers may continue to utilize the current version, dated March 8, 2013 N, until January 21, 2017. After January 21, the old version of the form will become invalid; making its use a violation of federal law with the potential to lead to various fines and/or civil/criminal penalties.

 

To remain in compliance with federal regulations, and to ensure we are meeting the regulatory needs of the professional communities we serve, A-Check Global will begin utilizing the revised Electronic Form I-9 on January 21, 2017. As of this date, we will discontinue the use of the old form, and will move forward with the adoption of all revisions and changes.

 

Upon launching the new form, A-Check Global will offer several resources to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for employers. However, those wishing to familiarize themselves with some of the most important changes prior to the release, should refer to key form revisions; including, but not limited to the following:

 

  • The replacement of the “Other Names Used” field in Section One (1) with “Other Last Names Used” in order to avoid possible discrimination issues, and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
  • The modification of Section One (1) to request that aliens authorized to work record at least one of the following:
    • Alien Registration Number (A-Number)/USCIS Number OR
    • Form I-94 Admission Number OR
    • Foreign Passport Number & Country of Issuance.
  • The utilization of Preparers and Translators. If the employee does not use a Preparer or Translator to assist in completing Section One (1), he or she must indicate this by checking a box that states, “I did not use a Preparer or Translator.” In addition, the form enables the completion of multiple Preparers and Translators; each of whom must complete a separate Preparer and/or Translator Certification.
  • The prohibition of blank spaces. No blank spaces are allowed. If an employee does not provide any of the following information in Section One (1), he/she must enter N/A on the Form I-9.
    • Middle Initial
    • Other Last Names Used
    • Employment Authorization Expiration Date
    • Alien Registration/USCIS Number
    • Form I-94 Admission Number
    • Foreign Passport Number
    • Country of Issuance
    • E-mail Address
    • Telephone Number

 

For more information on Form I-9 Solutions, or A-Check Global’s launch of the new Electronic Form I-9, please contact our Client Relations Department at clientrelations@acheckglobal.com or 877-345-2021.

Healthcare Exclusion Checks: New Year, New Opportunities

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It is a new year for healthcare industry employers, and with the refreshing new energy, comes the responsibility of ensuring healthcare exclusion monitoring is complete and up-to-date.

Healthcare exclusion checks exist for one primary reason: to determine whether or not a person is excluded from participation in providing services for employers or at facilities who receive federal funds.

According to the OIG website, individuals and entities on the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) are typically excluded for a number of reasons including, but not limited to the following:

Medicare or Medicaid fraud, offenses related to the delivery of items or services under Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, or other State health care programs; patient abuse or neglect; felony convictions for other health care-related fraud, theft, or other financial misconduct; and felony convictions relating to unlawful manufacture, distribution, prescription, or dispensing of controlled substances … misdemeanor convictions related to health care fraud other than Medicare or a State health program, fraud in a program (other than a health care program) funded by any Federal, State or local government agency; misdemeanor convictions relating to the unlawful manufacture, distribution, prescription, or dispensing of controlled substances; suspension, revocation, or surrender of a license to provide health care for reasons bearing on professional competence, professional performance, or financial integrity; etc.

Hiring or continuing to employ a person or persons who are excluded from Medicare, Medicaid and other federally-funded health care programs can pose significant risk to healthcare employers. Without conducting healthcare exclusion checks, employers run the risk of hiring or continuing to employ or contract with an excluded professional, which, according to an OIG Special Advisory Bulletin, means that no federal health care program payment may be made for any items or services furnished by, or at the medical direction/prescription of an excluded person. Additionally, employing or contracting excluded individuals may result in numerous penalties.

With the advent of the New Year, now is the perfect time for employers to be diligent and re-evaluate their screening processes.

Healthcare exclusion checks should always be performed prior to hiring a candidate. Additionally, industry best practice recommends employers screen current employees on a monthly, or at minimum, quarterly basis to ensure all staff members are in good standing to provide services for federally-funded programs. In addition, some states have additional excluded-parties databases and require additional screening to ensure compliance with state regulations for participation in providing services under specific programs.

A-Check Global partners with clients in the healthcare field to build comprehensive pre-hire and ongoing screening programs. These programs often include continuous exclusion list monitoring to aid in mitigating risk and ensure employers maintain a quality, qualified workforce.

If your company is interested in learning more about healthcare exclusion monitoring or establishing a screening program, please contact A-Check Global through our contact page, or by phone at 877-345-2021.

Reasonable Suspicion and Recognizing Drug Abuse

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Reasonable suspicion of drug use is not a new concept for employers. It can, however, be a difficult situation for many employers to adequately and appropriately navigate when it arises.

Drug use is detrimental to workers and organizations within all industries, especially those regulated by government entities such as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In order to understand the severity of employment-related drug abuse in any industry, however, it is important for employers to first understand the various effects controlled substances have on employees.

Currently, the most common and heavily-regulated substances include: Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, and Phencyclidine (PCP). The effects of each drug vary. However, all have the propensity to pose significant safety risks to the user and others, as well as costly property damage. Please refer to the chart below for the common effects of each substance:

Controlled Substance

Effects

Marijuana

Decreased motor coordination, lethargy, disorientation, altered time and space perception, lack of concentration, impaired learning and memory, alteration of thought formation, drowsiness and sedation, paranoia and panic, fatigue, psychosis

Cocaine

Loss of inhibition, confused and disoriented behavior, delusions, hallucinations, irritability, antisocial behavior, aggressiveness

Opiates

Induced sleep, cold and moist skin, restlessness, nausea, slowed breathing, drowsiness, visual distortion, hallucinations, loss of consciousness

Amphetamines

Rapid flight of ideas, rapid speech, motor restlessness, hallucinations, psychosis, insomnia, poor impulse control

Phencyclidine

Flushing, profuse sweating, grimacing facial expression, speech difficulty, muscular incoordination, excessive salvation, nausea and vomiting, severe anxiety, seizures

Reasonable suspicion drug testing may be warranted if and/or when the signs of potential use/abuse are witnessed. It is important to note, however, that employers in certain industries may be required to follow specific protocol to ensure regulatory compliance prior to testing an employee. Employers should familiarize themselves with industry regulations, where applicable. Individual company policies, drafted with the guidance of competent legal counsel, may also provide guidance.

Regardless of industry, it is beneficial for employers to implement the Five-D approach to reasonable suspicion. This approach calls for employers to:

  • Detect the change in behavior and take action
  • Don’t act alone – approach the employee in question with another supervisor/witness for accountability purposes
  • Discuss with the employee – give the employee the opportunity to explain
  • Describe, don’t diagnose – describe what you are seeing; do not be overly-specific or accusatory
  • Document the situation – document anything and everything that could help you build your case

Once these steps have been completed, it is important to communicate findings and results with all required personnel. Once a determination has been made to initiate a drug screen based upon reasonable suspicion, transportation to the testing site and/or an escort should be provided to the employee in question. Industry best practice suggests that employees should never be encouraged or allowed to drive themselves to testing sites.

If your company is interested in learning more about reasonable suspicion or establishing a Reasonable Suspicion program, please contact A-Check Global through our contact page, or by phone at 877-345-2021.

NATCRIM: A Highly-Beneficial Background Screening Resource

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For many years, background screening services have been utilized to round out hiring processes, and determine an applicant or current employee’s employment eligibility. As time and technology have advanced, however, the screening methods available to employers have increased and improved drastically – creating better searches and more accurate results on which employers can rely.

One of the most beneficial and recommended of those searches is the National Criminal Locator Database Search, or NATCRIM for short. NATCRIM is a highly-beneficial service and resource for employers, especially those screening candidates/employees within or from the United States. The general purpose of any NATCRIM search is to broaden the scope of a background screen to include records from jurisdictions outside of a candidate’s current and previous residences.

Records found in the NATCRIM come from a variety of public sources such as state and county criminal record repositories, state law enforcement agencies, state courts, traffic courts, corrections departments, prison release and parole files, probation departments, and other state agency records.

The inclusion of these additional records is important because employers often base background searches on areas in which a candidate/employee has lived, worked, or gone to school; without taking into consideration a record might exist in a jurisdiction elsewhere, where he/she may have been temporarily. These records are also important because they pinpoint where, specifically, a particular record can be found, which lends itself to providing additional insight into a candidate’s background.

For FCRA compliance, criminal records found through NATCRIM should be verified at the source. Best practices in background screening cite that NATCRIM should not be used as a standalone service, and recommend it as an added security net for county criminal searches.

A-Check Global employs these and other best practices to provide the most accurate and compliant results to clients. Additionally, A-Check Global’s NATCRIM contains over 500 million criminal records from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories – making it one of the most comprehensive database searches available to employers.

For more information on NATCRIM and/or incorporating this search into your company’s background screening program, watch A-Check Global’s NATCRIM video located in our Resource Library under Informational Videos. You may also contact A-Check Global through our contact page, or by phone at 877-345-2021.