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City College of San Francisco

Achieving Clinical Site Compliance and Thorough Student Backgrounds = More Time Spent Teaching

Achieving Clinical Site Compliance and Thorough Student Backgrounds = More Time Spent Teaching

The mere thought of conducting background checks on students was not a comfortable one for Kyle Thornton, Diagnostic Medical Imaging Program Director and Radiologic Sciences Department Chair of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF). “I felt the process was invasive, would be time consuming and would create extra work for our staff,” notes Thornton. However, as a director whose programs collaborate with many Bay Area hospitals, he knew that student backgrounds had become a necessity.

The City College of San Francisco has a full range of academic programs that prepare students for medical careers through its School of Health & Physical Education. Upon completion of study, students are fully trained for entry-level healthcare positions. In order to prepare for these positions, clinical rotations are an integral part of the course of study.

When hospitals and schools partner to provide students with clinical experience, it is incumbent upon the school to not only train students appropriately, but ensure that they are not a risk to patient safety and security. As screening requirements vary from one hospital to the next, it can become a daunting task to ensure compliance with every facility. Additionally, in order for hospitals to obtain and maintain accreditation through the Joint Commission, they must ensure that students participate in the same level of background screening as all other hospital staff.

“Corporate Screening has patiently walked me through the process and done everything possible to minimize the impact of maintaining a quality screening program,” said Thornton. This process included a thorough assessment of each clinical site agreement that CCSF had with their partner hospitals. Through this evaluation, the experts at Corporate Screening tailored a fully compliant program across all clinical sites. Thornton had the added confidence that Corporate Screening also partners with many of the hospitals where CCSF students are often assigned for their clinical rotations.

As students pursue their certifications, they must also meet stringent ethical standards. Criminal convictions can prevent certification, so a thorough background investigation prior to entering the program is a must. “Corporate Screening created a painless and very low maintenance procedure,” acknowledges Thornton. Utilizing Corporate Screening’s VerifyStudents platform, CCSF students complete the background screening process with ease. “I especially appreciate the procedural handout created by Corporate Screening that I can simply pass on to my students.”

These customized documents guide students through the process and ensure that they are compliant prior to entering their program of study. At CCSF, this includes: Social Security Number trace; County Criminal search including all names, and all counties; CrimeSweep National Sex Offender search; DHHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) List Search; General Services

Administration (GSA) List Search and paperless drug screening. While many providers offer this same list of screening options, what sets Corporate Screening apart for CCSF is the level of service that accompanies these product offerings. “I appreciate having an available go-to person – it is one of Corporate Screening’s most valuable assets,” said Thornton.

Corporate Screening is committed to providing excellent service, low cost and turnaround times that meet or exceed industry standards. This was demonstrated recently when a CCSF student scheduled her drug screening but ultimately did not make it to the appointment. The Corporate Screening analyst who was evaluating the student’s background for CCSF immediately notified the school. Additionally, the analyst reached out to the student, rescheduled the appointment and kept the background process on track for both the student and Thornton who stated, “I’ve established a relationship with Corporate Screening and that aspect is far too valuable to give up.”

The mission of CCSF is to foster superior levels of educational participation and academic success.  To accomplish this mission, the school must satisfy many accreditation and compliance requirements – a task that demands a significant amount of Thornton’s time and attention. Partnering with Corporate Screening by utilizing the VerifyStudents platform has alleviated some of his adiminstrative responsibilities making it easier for Thornton to focus his attention on what he enjoys most – teaching.

Samuel Merritt University

Ohlone College

 

Thorough Student Background Checks Help Samuel Merritt College Comply with JCAHO Standards

Thorough Student Background Checks Help Samuel Merritt College Comply with JCAHO Standards

As if John Garten-Shuman’s job as Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services at Samuel Merritt College wasn’t complex enough. Heis responsible, in part, for assisting in the coordination of student clinical rotations through the required background check process at the college, which is a fully accredited health sciences institution located in Oakland, California. The school offers undergraduate degrees in nursing, master’s degrees in nursing, physician assistant and occupational therapy, and doctoral degrees in physical therapy and podiatric medicine.

In 2004 the complexity of Garten-Shuman’s position increased when a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO) standard went into effect requiring background checks for all students, employees, staff and volunteers who supervise care, render treatment and provide services at healthcare facilities nationwide.

To comply with JCAHO, all Samuel Merritt students are required to undergo a background check for security clearances in order to matriculate into the institution’s majors that mandate a clinical rotation at a healthcare facility.

Specifically, the directive means the faculty involved in coordinating student clinical rotations have to supply the results (or a certification concerning the results) of each student background check to the appropriate healthcare facility for each clinical rotation. It’s a daunting task that involves securing student consent forms, coordinating each background investigation, reviewing hard copy and online reports, disseminating the appropriate information to clinical coordinators at the college (who in turn notify the appropriate clinical preceptors at each site), and warehousing reports for future reference, if needed.

With more than 700 clinical affiliations throughout California and roughly 1,100 students participating in off campus clinical rotations annually, Garten-Shuman went outside the college for background screening help. “Sutter Health, our parent company, has worked closely with Corporate Screening Services for their background investigations, so the company came highly recommended,” says Garten-Shuman. “Since our affiliation with Corporate Screening in late 2004, we’ve been getting service that has far exceeded our expectations.”

To ensure Samuel Merritt’s complete compliance with federal and school-established directives, Corporate Screening established a student screening program that achieved several objectives, including:

• Meeting the contractual obligations contained in affiliation agreements between the college and the various healthcare facilities.

• Securing due diligence and competency assessments of all individuals who have contact with patients or research participants.

• Ensuring uniform compliance with JCAHO standards and agency regulations pertaining to human resource management.

• Meeting the public demands for greater diligence in light of the national reports on deaths resulting from medical malpractice and medical errors.

“Corporate Screening presents a nice package that enables us to secure the basic background checks we require for multiple geographic locations, if needed,” comments Garten-Shuman. “Since Samuel Merritt students come from all over the country we need a source for background checks that can access multi-state records. And Corporate Screening provides that service.”

“Corporate Screening has been extremely responsive to our needs,” he continues. “They call with questions if needed and work beyond our standards. They’ll look at each individual clinical contract – and the wording on those contracts – to make sure we’re complying not only with JCAHO requirements but those of each clinical site. And they’ll supply any additional information required to get the job done and done right.” Garten-Shuman credits the assistance of a background screening company with being able to provide the proper student for each clinical site and scenario, saying that a thorough investigation can identify potential problems or uncover information that students may have omitted from their applications.

“A thorough background check eliminates the liability on the clinical side of hiring students who have questionable backgrounds,” he notes, “and allows us to identify those problems at the school level before they can become potential issues on the clinical end.”

 

A Green and Streamlined Student Background Program at Ohlone College

A Green and Streamlined Student Background Program at Ohlone College

Ohlone College has always been a trend setter. In 2004 it was the first college to go smoke-free in the San Francisco Bay area. So when the college opened its new Center for Health Sciences and Technology in 2008 it would be another “first” – this time, as the first “green” community college campus in the nation.

The Center for Health Sciences and Technology is the home of the Health Science and Environmental Studies program, which confers associate degrees in nursing, physical therapy, respiratory therapy and a certificate in phlebotomy. “With 200 students in various stages of their education all needing practicum experience, the paper process for managing student background investigations required by the Joint Commission needed to change given our program’s new eco-friendly home,” said Gale Carli, Dean of Health Science and Environmental Studies.

In 2004 the Joint Commissions set forth a standard in HR 1.20 that student background investigations must be conducted when required by law, regulation or company policy. Any revision to Ohlone College’s student background check program would still need to:

Ensure uniform compliance with the Joint Commission standards. Meet contractual obligations with the 10 hospital affiliates as it relates to student background screening and practicum experience. In addition, the current paper-intensive process needed to be streamlined with the following environmentally friendly goals in mind:

Paperless – replace paper files and electronic paper trails. Electronic management – information just a click away. Ohlone College administrators were burdened with ordering, collecting payment for and managing its cumbersome, paper-laden student background check program. The new system would need to have a secure method for payment and transmitting confidential student information via a paperless platform while also providing secure management reporting of investigation results.

In response to the challenges faced by Ohlone and other colleges serving similar disciplines, Corporate Screening developed VerifyStudents. com, a secure, turnkey web portal that enables students to submit and pay for their background check online. All student information is securely transmitted via VerifyStudents.com and results are electronically sent directly to the school’s clinical coordinator administrator keeping the integrity of any findings. Corporate Screening consulted every step of the way to ensure that the program was a custom fit for their clients’ needs.

“The process is now streamlined for everyone, students and administrators alike,” shared Gale Carli. Clinical coordinators no longer have the hassle of collecting and filing documents. They now access and review report results with a click of the mouse using CS EASE®, Corporate Screening’s management reporting system. When a clinical partner calls with a question the answer is now readily available via the web.

Implementation was easy and cost-effective too. Corporate Screening worked with Ohlone College to put in place the most stringent screening requirements based on its clinical partners’ guidelines. Students are now assured they will only pay once for a background check to satisfy multiple clinical rotation sites. Gale Carli also noted, “Implementing VerifyStudents was cost-effective for the college too. From an IT perspective a web browser was the only technical requirement for implementation. Our students’ background reports are stored and archived at Corporate Screening – freeing up my budget.”

Ohlone College began using the VerifyStudents web portal for its student background screening program in 2005. Corporate Screening was the only company that could meet not only the background screening requirements of the Joint Commission and its clinical partners, but also the environmental requirements of Ohlone College. “The customer service has been terrific too and is what separates Corporate Screening and VerifyStudents from competing service providers,” said Dean Carli.

Corporate Screening continues developing and enhancing its background screening products based on open lines of communication established through partnerships with its clients like Ohlone College, who are making a difference in our world – not only with their well-prepared students but also because of their sense of environmental responsibility. And that should make anyone green with envy.

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