If you are a licensed health care professional or an individual working for a health care provider that is required under Florida law to undergo a background screening you may be interested to know that in some instances a prior criminal record may not automatically disqualify you from working in Florida.
In those instances where an employer, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Florida Department of Health (DOH), or other entity requires a Level 2 Background Screening and the individual is found to have a prior criminal history, depending upon the nature of the criminal charges, that individual may be eligible to keep their employment if certain actions are taken to challenge or appeal the decision of AHCA or DOH.
If you work in the health care industry either as a licensed health care professional, executive, or employee, and have received notification from the Agency for Health Care Administration or Department of Health, that you are disqualified from employment in Florida there may be avenues available to you to overcome the disqualification and remain qualified to work in Florida. Depending upon the position you hold whether an owner, management, or employee, AHCA requires routine background checks for the following health care providers:
- Ambulatory Surgery Centers
- Birth Centers
- Clinical Laboratories Performing Non-waived Testing (including physician performed microscopic tests)
- Drug Free Workplace
- Multiphasic Health Testing Centers
- Organ Procurement Organizations, Tissue Banks, Eye Banks
- Adult Day Care Centers
- Adult Family Care Homes
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Health Care Service Pools
- Home Health Agencies
- Home Medical Equipment Providers
- Homes for Special Services
- Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled
- Nurse Registries
- Nursing Homes
- Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care
- Transitional Living Facilities
- Community Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Units
- Residential Treatment Centers for Children and Adolescents
- Residential Treatment Facilities
- Short Term Residential Treatment Facilities
- Health Care Clinics
- Risk Managers
In addition, health care professionals licensed by DOH are required under the law to undergo background screenings as a part of initial licensure and renewal. After finger print cards are processed if a background screening reveals a criminal history the employee is usually furnished a letter indicating that he/she cannot be employed in Florida unless certain steps are taken to seek as an “Exemption from Disqualification” – which allows you to continue working despite your criminal record.
In Part II: Health Care Background Checks in Florida I will cover the list of crimes which absolutely prohibit individuals from working in Florida and a brief overview on the method for appealing a disqualification letter from AHCA or DOH.