How to Survive a Background Investigation
One of the major components of obtaining a license in the State of Florida as a health care professional is passing the background check. It may there seem that the background check is perhaps second only to those conducted by the FBI on applicants for positions within the intelligence community, but this rigorousness has a specific purpose—it is intended not only to protect the applicant but also the applicant’s patients and practice once he or she obtains the relevant license.
A background check is conducted by one or more agencies depending upon the circumstances. However, in the most common situations, if a medical professional applying for a license in Florida intends to practice in a hospital, establish a private practice, or work as a nurse in private practice once the license is received, the Florida Department of Health conducts the background investigation. While the department is thorough in its investigation, the process usually is completed within a reasonable time. If any problems are encountered, then the applicant will face a different set of circumstances.
Difficulties Arising From Background Checks
Any potential difficulties that might arise during the background check can generally be avoided if the applicant is careful, thorough, and scrupulously honest in completing the portions of the application that address the following issues:
- Administrative Issues
- Any denial, suspension, revocation, restriction, or modification of staff privileges
- Placed on probation
- Asked to resign, take a leave of absence, or otherwise been acted against y any facility
- Any final disciplinary action taken by a specialty board or other national organization
- Criminal History
- Read this section very carefully. Omit any detail at your own risk.
- Please understand that an arrest in 1996 for a drug charge, for example, did not happen so long ago that it doesn’t need to be disclosed. Everything must be disclosed. Period.
- Criminal and Medicaid/Medicare Fraud Questions
- Please be aware this section asks whether an applicant has ever been convicted of, entered a guilty plea, or pled nolo contendere, regardless of adjudication, to three specific Florida statutes, or similar offenses in another state or jurisdiction.
- Precision in responding to this section prevents complications in the application process. Therefore, read the cited statutes carefully before answering.
While these portions of the application process may seem daunting, and perhaps require a degree of painful honesty, every applicant is always best served by making sure his or her application is complete, detailed, and inclusive. When this is the case, the background check will rarely if ever be a stumbling block toward obtaining a medical professional license in Florida.
If you should have any questions about this process or need assistance in responding to these portions of your application, please contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law at 850-877-7776 to set up your FREE no-obligation consultation with attorney Jeff Howell or attorney Rickey Strong today.
DOH has experienced attorneys on its side. So should you!