Information & Resources
Persons Required to be Screened
According to section 943.0525, F.S., the Criminal Justice Information Program will not allow Level II screenings unless there is statutory authority to do so. The following persons are required to undergo Level II screening in accordance with section 408.809, F.S.:
- Licensee if the licensee is an individual [Reference 408.809(1)(a)]
- Administrator or a similarly titled person who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the provider. For example in a clinical laboratory, the Laboratory Director is the person designated with the day-to-day responsibilities of operation. [Reference 408.809(1)(b)]
- Financial officer or similarly titled individual who is responsible for the financial operation of the licensee or provider. [Reference 408.809(1)(c)]
- Controlling interests - may be required to be screened if the agency has reason to believe the person has been convicted of a disqualifying offense. [Reference 408.809(1)(d)]. A controlling interest is defined as the applicant or licensee; a person or entity that serves as an officer of, is on the board of directors of, or has a 5-percent or greater ownership interest in the applicant or licensee; or a person or entity that serves as an officer of, is on the board of directors of, or has a 5-percent or greater ownership interest in the management company or other entity, related or unrelated, with which the applicant or licensee contracts to manage the provider. The term does not include a voluntary board member.
Provider personnel screening requirements are specified in the authorizing licensure statutes. The jobs and duties of persons who serve as employees or contractors must be evaluated independently to determine if they meet one of the definitions below. See Who is required to be screened for a chart indicating the provider type and the positions that require screening.
- Employees that are expected to provide direct care or services or have access to client property, funds or living areas. [Reference 408.809 (1)(e)]
- Contractors expected to provide personal care or personal services directly to clients. Evidence of contractor screening may be retained by the contractor’s employer or the licensees (provider). [408.809 (1)(e)]
- Other persons required under the authorizing statutes to be screened including the medical director and all health care practitioners for a licensed health care clinic (see chart for details).
- Volunteers for a mental health provider licensed under chapter 394, F.S. which includes Crisis Stabilization Units, Residential Treatment Facilities, and Residential Treatment Centers for Children and Adolescents, must undergo Level 2 screening unless they work less than 10 hours/month and are within the line of sight of an employee that has successfully completed a Level 2. [Reference: 394.4572]
- Volunteers for a hospice provider are considered employees of the hospice in accordance with Rule 58A-2.002(6) and therefore must undergo Level 2 screening if they will provide personal care or services directly to clients or have access to client funds, personal property or living areas.
- Students – Section 394.4572(1), Florida Statutes regarding screening of mental health personnel states that all program directors, professional clinicians, staff members, and volunteers working in public or private mental health programs and facilities who have direct contact with individuals held for examination or admitted for mental health treatment must undergo Level 2 screening in accordance with section 435.04 and section 408.809, F.S. with the exception of students who are interning in a mental health facility licensed under chapter 395, where the primary purpose of the facility is not the treatment of minors. These individuals are exempt from the screening requirements if they are under direct supervision in the actual physical presence of a licensed health care professional.
The Agency for Health Care Administration does not have statutory authority to screen students interning with a health care provider other than in the situation described above.
- Children under Age 18 - The law does not change based on the age of the employee/contractor. If a child under 18 years of age meets the definition of one of the positions above he/she must undergo the same screening as a person over age 18.
Level of Screening Required
Level 2 is a fingerprint check of state and federal criminal history information conducted through the Florida Department of law Enforcement (FDLE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). [ Reference 435.04]
Persons hired or initially contracting with a provider after August 1, 2010, must undergo Level 2 background screening.
All Level 2 screening requests must be submitted electronically. The Agency will no longer process Level 1 or Level 2 screening requests or fees after July 31, 2010. Any Level 1 or Level 2 screening request and fees submitted to the Agency’s Background Screening Unit after July 31, 2010 will be returned to the sender unprocessed.
Forms of “electronic screening:”
LiveScan device is a term used to describe the scanners used to directly capture fingerprints through a scanning function. Persons being screened place their hands directly on the scanner for reading. Fingerprint scanning using a LiveScan device provides faster results and generally costs less than hard card scanning as there is less handling involved. LiveScan capture also produces a better quality print, so there is a lower rejection rate of illegible prints (no ink smudging, etc).
LiveScan options - There are several options for LiveScan capture including:
- LiveScan service providers approved to submit fingerprint requests through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). These service providers generally require advanced online reservations or appointments and charge a fee for use of the LiveScan in addition to the FDLE screening fee of $64.50. LiveScan devices are either available at specific locations or through mobile services where the service provider will either come to the provider location (based on certain volumes and fees) or another pre-arranged location. LiveScan service providers are independent businesses and each must be contacted in advance to determine fees, services and enrollment requirements. For more information regarding LiveScan service providers please see the FDLE LiveScan Site.
- LiveScan devices (machines) may be purchased/leased by providers who wish to handle their own fingerprint capture. Several business offer machines (sale or lease) however, it is important to assure that any selection is approved for submission through FDLE and all requirements of fingerprint submission are met. For more information visit the FDLE LiveScan Site or the AHCA Cogent contract (Option 1 or Option 2).
Hard card scanning is a method of submitting a traditional fingerprint card where finger prints are “rolled’ in ink onto an FBI fingerprint card. Cards may be converted to “electronic” by using a machine that scans the cards. There is typically a fee associated with “rolling the prints” as a high degree of skill is required to achieve the necessary quality. Hard cards for AHCA screening must be obtained from AHCA because they must include the pre-printed AHCA ORI# to assure results are returned appropriately. You may request fingerprint cards by emailing: BGScreen@ahca.myflorida.com.
LiveScan Service Providers
There are many LiveScan sites available around the state from service providers listed on the FDLE site - some who offer mobile services for onsite screening. We have requested information from each of these service providers regarding their location, hours of operation, and fees and compiled a chart based on the information provided. This list is continuously updated and reported within the Clearinghouse results website. Other Livescan service providers may be found at FDLE Livescan Site.
The Agency for Health Care Administration has contracted with Cogent Systems to provide electronic fingerprint services for health care providers licensed through the Agency. Cogent Systems has statewide locations and will provide LiveScan services for a screening fee of $64.50 plus a processing fee of $11.75 per transaction for a total screening fee of $76.25 per individual . The fee is due at the time of screening unless other payment arrangements have been made with Cogent.
Cogent Systems has a created a website for Agency providers. The website, www.cogentid.com , includes all information pertaining to the AHCA LiveScan process including Cogent locations, hours of operation, and instructions to schedule appointments for screening through Cogent. Please note that the physical Cogent LiveScan locations cannot provide information regarding AHCA screening information - all registration must be completed through the Cogent website. Step-by-step instructions are available on the Background Screening website at: Instructions on Accessing AHCA’s Contracted LiveScan Vendor (Cogent Systems)
Cogent Systems is also offering to provide LiveScan equipment to health care providers based on the expected volume of transactions. The following options will be offered by the vendor:
Health care providers licensed by the Agency with a minimum monthly volume of 30 or more transactions may request a LiveScan system for a one-time cost of $1,000.00 and receive a refund of $2.00 per transaction at the end of each full 12 months of service. This will result in a per transaction fee of $9.75, provided the user achieves the minimum volume. The Vendor will provide the necessary online training, annual system maintenance and remote system configuration and installation of the system at no cost to the health care provider. Should the user fail to meet the minimum volume of 360 yearly total transactions (12 months x 30 transactions), the $2.00 refund will not be applied. If the yearly volume is less than 180 transactions, the health care provider will pay the Vendor the discounted purchase amount outlined in Option 2 (less the $1,000.00 previously paid) plus the $500.00 annual maintenance fee.
Health care providers that anticipate a volume of less than 30 transactions a month but more than 15 transactions per month will be allowed to purchase a LiveScan capturing system at a discounted rate of $4,000 and an annual maintenance fee of $500.00. The Vendor will provide online training, remote system configuration and installation and a one-year full warranty. The per transaction fee for volume less than 30 transactions per month will be $11.75.
Agencies and/or facilities that participate in either Option One or Option Two above have the option of paying for their transactions utilizing credit cards/debit cards or money orders. Alternatively, an account may be established with the Vendor to allow either pre-pay through an escrow account or the option of being invoiced at the end of each month.
For more information on these options visit the Cogent Systems website at: http://www.cogentid.com/fl/index.htm.
If you have additional questions Cogent has two call centers; Customer Service and Technical Support:
Customer Support Center (866) 365-6767:
The Customer Support Center is available to help Applicants with Registration and Payment issues. The Customer Support Center is also available to help Providers with Agency Enrollment and Account generation.
Technical Support (888) HELP-501 [(888) 435-7501]:
The Technical Support Center is available to assist Providers and Fingerprinting sites who utilize Cogent Livescan equipment with hardware and software related issues. The Technical Support Center provides help to Livescan operators if the equipment is malfunctioning or defective. The Technical Support Center is responsible for getting the Systems back into operational mode.
LiveScan Service Provider Requirements
In addition to compliance with FDLE transmission requirements, the LiveScan sites will need the following information in order for AHCA to receive the results appropriately. If the service provider you choose does not have an online registration or appointment system we ask that you please use the “Validation for LiveScan Service Providers” form available on the Background Screening Results Website . The form is created after the screening is initiated on the Background Screening Results Website. Please view the AHCA Clearinghouse Results website for information on initiating screenings. Failure to submit this information may result in the provider’s inability to obtain screening results:
- Full Name
- Individual’s Address
- Social Security Number (if the SSN is not included, the results will not appear on the Agency’s Results website)
- Date of Birth
- AHCA # for provider/facility, or third party/contractor.
Health care contractors must register with the Agency’s Background Screening Unit to obtain the AHCA #. See instructions for registration in the "AHCA Clearinghouse User Registration Guide".
- Employer Name
- Employer Address (address information should be separated by commas: street, city, state, zip)
Out-of-state applicants and others who do not have access to a Florida LiveScan vendor will be required to submit a fingerprint card to Cogent Systems along with a fee of $80.25 ($64.50 for the screening + $15.75 processing fee). You must obtain a fingerprint card from the Agency. To request a fingerprint card please contact the Agency’s Background Screening Section at (850)412-4503 or email email@example.com .
The fingerprint card must be filled out completely and the fingerprints taken by law enforcement personnel or individual trained in processing fingerprints. Please visit Cogent to register and pay for the background screening. Return the completed card to:
Attn: Fingerprint Card Scan Florida
5025 Bradenton Ave Suite A
Dublin, OH 43017
The fingerprint card may also be sent to other LiveScan vendors authorized to provide services in Florida as long as they are equipped to transmit the images of the fingerprints from the fingerprint card electronically. This requires special equipment and not all LiveScan vendors have this ability. For more information you may find LiveScan vendor contact information on the FDLE website: FDLE LiveScan Site.
Cost of Screening
The total fee for a Level 2 background screening is $64.50 ($24.00 for the state portion, $16.50 for the national portion, and $24.00 for retention). The additional cost of electronic screening varies based on the service provider chosen.
Total cost = $64.50 + electronic print processing fee
The cost of the screening may be borne by the licensee or the person fingerprinted. [Reference 408.809(2)]
AHCA Screening Process Overview
Providers send their employees, potential employees, or contractors to a LiveScan service provider for fingerprinting – it is critical that the fingerprint submission is accompanied by the required information for the person screened (see LiveScan Vendor Requirements ). Failure to submit this information may result in the provider’s inability to obtain screening results.
Once prints are successfully submitted to FDLE, they will check the state criminal history repository for records and the FBI will check national criminal history systems for information. Allow 2-3 business days for FDLE/FBI processing and submission of results to AHCA. Once complete, FDLE electronically sends results to AHCA where data is brought into the AHCA Background Screening Database (BGS Database). AHCA staff review the results and determine if any “disqualifying criminal offenses” exist. If the person has disqualifying offenses, he/she is recorded in the AHCA Background Screening Database as “Not Eligible”, if no disqualifying offenses exist they are recorded as “Eligible”. The results of the screening are posted immediately to the Agency’s Background Screening Results Website. Please allow 2-3 business days for AHCA processing. Therefore, total processing time is generally 5-7 business days from the date prints are submitted to FDLE.
Level 2 screening records are confidential and may not be shared with anyone other than the individual that was screened. If a criminal record is incomplete, AHCA will contact the person screened through certified mail (based on the address submitted to FDLE) for additional information, which will delay the processing of the screening. The employer (AHCA provider/facility) should contact the person screened if delays exist.
If fingerprints are rejected by FDLE/FBI, AHCA will send the person screened a certified letter directing them to return to the same service provider with a copy of the letter they received. The letter includes their TCR number. This number lets the service provider know that the first set of prints were rejected and to submit a second set of prints at no additional screening fee however, the service provider may charge a processing fee. The service provider must allow the person to submit a second set of fingerprints to FDLE at no additional cost. If the certified letter is not signed for after 30 days, a second letter will be sent out by regular mail.
Prior Screening Conducted by another Agency or AHCA
Proof of screening received from other specified state agencies must use the equivalent screening standards as the Agency. Proof of compliance with level 2 screening standards for the following state agencies is satisfactory compliance with screening for AHCA if the screening is less than five years old, the final screening determination is provided, the person has not had a break in service from a position that requires screening for more than 90 days, and the person signs the Affidavit of Compliance with Background Screening [Reference 408.809(2)]
State agencies include:
- Agency for Health Care Administration - including Licensure and Medicaid
- Department of Health (Certified Nursing Assistants only)
- Agency for Persons with Disabilities
- Department of Children and Families
- Department of Financial Services
- Department of Elder Affairs
The following provider types may submit screening requests for review by the Agency OR the Department of Children and Families; different fees may apply [Reference: 394.4572]:
- Crisis Stabilization Units
- Residential Treatment Facilities for Adolescents and Children
- Residential Treatment Facilities
- Short Term Residential Programs
Persons seeking employment in one of these provider types that is disqualified from employment due to their background screenings and are seeking an Exemption from Disqualification must submit the appropriate application to the agency that reviewed the screening results.
Employees and Contractors employed before August 1, 2010
Every employee/contractor must attest to meeting the requirements of this chapter and agreeing to inform the employer immediately if arrested for any of the disqualifying offenses while employed by the employer. [Section 435.05(2)]. This attestation must be maintained in the employee’s personnel file. You may use the Affidavit of Compliance with Background Screening to satisfy the attestation requirement.
If an employer becomes aware that an employee/contractor has been arrested for a disqualifying offense, the employer must remove the employee/contractor from contact with any vulnerable person that places the employee/contractor in a role that requires background screening until the arrest is resolved in a way that the employer determines that the employee/contractor is still eligible for employment/contracting under this chapter. [Section 435.06(2)(b)]
All persons subject to screening will be required to be rescreened every five years. Initial rescreening must be conducted according to the following schedule:
- Individuals for whom the last screening was conducted on or before December 31, 2004, must be rescreened by July 31, 2013.
- Individuals for whom the last screening conducted was between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, must be rescreened by July 31, 2014.
- Individuals for whom the last screening conducted was between January 1, 2009, through July 31, 2011, must be rescreened by July 31, 2015.
Existing employees or contractors with prior Level 1 screening:
Persons affiliated (hired or contracting with) a provider before August 1, 2010, who have already been screened under Level 1 (state only) are not required to immediately be rescreened under Level 2 as long as they remain with the same provider. They must be rescreened according to the schedule provided above.
Disqualifying criminal offenses are listed in Florida Statute (F.S.), Chapter 435 and Florida Statute (F.S.), Chapter 408.809 . If a person is found to have a new disqualifying offense, or is arrested for any of these offenses, he/she is not eligible to work in a position that requires screening unless an exemption is granted. [ Reference 408.809(4) and 435.04, 435.05]
Existing employees or contractors screened, qualified and hired before August 1, 2010, that have a disqualifying offense revealed during a rescreening that was not disqualifying at the time of the prior screening, may continue to work, if the employer agrees, while applying for an exemption from disqualification as long as the employee/contractor is eligible to apply for an exemption and the application is received by the appropriate agency within 30 days after receipt of the rescreening results. This provision does not apply to staff hired before August 1, 2010, who have never been screened. [ Reference 408.809(4)]
Criminal History Reports
Criminal history reports must be complete to render a decision. If a report is missing the disposition of an arrest for a disqualifying offense(s) the person screened will be notified by certified mail to obtain additional information from the arresting jurisdiction.
To correct information on a criminal history report for an offense that occurred in Florida, contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The Agency will review all screening results and a determination of “Eligible” or “Not Eligible” will be posted on our secure website. Notifications by mail will no longer be available.
Providers may access the screening results through the Agency’s secure website at: Background Screening Results Website
The new law added additional disqualifying criminal offenses (includes luring and enticing a child; voyeurism, video voyeurism; and unlawful sexual activity with certain minors).
A health care provider may not hire a new employee or contract with a person until a final screening determination of “Eligible” has been made or the individual is “Not Eligible” but has been granted an Exemption from Disqualification from the Agency or the Department of Health (if seeking employment in a position that requires professional licensure or certification through the Department).
Each employee/contractor required to undergo screening must attest upon hiring that they meet the requirements for employment and agree to inform the employer immediately if arrested for any disqualifying offense. This form must be kept in the employee’s personnel file. The following Affidavit of Compliance with Background Screening may be used for this requirement.
If an employee/contractor has an arrest for a disqualifying offense and is awaiting sentencing he/she is Not Eligible to work until there is a final court disposition and the individual is determined by the Agency to be eligible.
Exemptions from Disqualification
Requests for exemption from disqualification due to a criminal history may be submitted using the application form available on our website. An Application for Exemption from Disqualification AHCA Form 3110-0019 and instructions may be downloaded from the Agency’s website at: Exemption
A person is not eligible to apply for an Exemption from Disqualification until:
- He/she has been lawfully released from confinement, probation or other sanction for a disqualifying misdemeanor criminal offense;
- At least 3 years after he/she has been lawfully released from confinement, probation or other sanction for a disqualifying felony criminal offense.
- Persons designated as sexual predators, sexual offenders or career offenders are not eligible for an Exemption from Disqualification.
The Agency will review applications and make decisions for Exemptions for unlicensed personnel working for a health care provider and the Department of Health will review applications and make decisions for licensed and certified personnel as long as that person is working in the scope of his or her license or certification.
Please allow 30 days for a decision from the date a complete application is submitted.
Evidence of screening must be retained in the personnel files for those screened. Contractor screening may be retained either by the employer or the licensee where the contractor provides contract services.
Given the significant changes to processes brought on by these new laws and recent developments indicating fewer than expected LiveScan locations available on August 1, we want to ensure that challenges in the initial implementation of this new law will not interfere with the delivery of necessary care and services to those who receive health care in Florida. Therefore, during the initial implementation of this new law, deficient practice will be determined based on providers’ good faith efforts to comply with the law. Providers making a good faith effort to comply will not be sanctioned. Providers must document their efforts to comply with the law.
Please visit our website for important information regarding new background screening requirements including how to submit fingerprints electronically, a list of LiveScan service providers in the state updated daily with new locations, and instructions to request an exemption from disqualification due to a criminal history. Our website is http://www.ahca.myflorida.com select Site Menu, then select Background Screening in the bottom second column, or http://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/Central_Services/Background_Screening/index.shtml.
If you have any questions please contact the Background Screening Unit at 850-412-4503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please direct questions regarding licensure issues to the appropriate licensure unit.
|Long Term Care Unit||Nursing Homes, ICF/DDs, Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Centers,Transitional Living Facilities, Homes for Special Services||(850) 412-4303|
|Hospitals & Outpatient Services||Abortion Clinics, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Birth Centers, Crisis Stabilization Units, Hospitals, Organ Procurement Organizations, Tissue Banks, Eye Banks, Residential Treatment Facilities, Utilization Review||(850) 412-4549|
|Health Care Clinic Unit||(850) 412-4404|
|Home Care Unit||Home Health Agencies, Homemaker, Sitter, Companion Agencies, Home Medical Equipment Providers, Hospice, Nurse Registries, Health Care Services Pools||(850) 412-4403|
|Assisted Living Unit||Adult Day Care Centers, Adult Family Care Homes, Assisted Living Facilities||(850) 412-4304|
|Laboratory Unit||Drug Free Workplace, Multiphasic Health Testing Centers||(850) 412-4500|
If you have any questions or need more specific details, please visit the Agency web site at http://ahca.myflorida.com.