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Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen Process

Overview

SMU contracts with multiple agencies that require a criminal background and drug screening for students to be able to participate in rotations at their sites.  In response to these requirements, student criminal background check and drug screenings are conducted within a standardized process through the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services.  Criminal background checks are completed for all students as a condition of student admission.  Drug screenings are conducted for students from the DPM, DPT, MPA and MOT programs as required by their assigned rotation agency sites.  Both a criminal background check and drug screen are required upon admission for students attending all nursing programs with the exception of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program.  Information and compliance guidelines for the SMU student criminal background and drug screening process are outlined below. 

A criminal background check must be completed by each SMU student as a condition of admission. By contract, in order to participate in rotations, SMU’s clinical agency partners require that each student complete a criminal background check.  Current statute of limitation:  If students maintain continuous enrollment, they generally will not be required to repeat a background check screen unless a clinical site specifically requires an updated report.

Student criminal background reports are paperless and can be conveniently initiated, paid for and completed online through Certifiedbackground.com.  Criminal background check reports go back seven years are typically completed within ten working days (depending on the number of residences and volume of information covering the seven year period that need to be researched).  At any time a student can access, view and print his/her completed, confidential report via their online account.  The Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services can access and view online the current status of a student’s report.

A drug screen is required by many of SMU’s clinical agency partners. All newly admitted nursing students are required to complete a drug screen.   Only students participating in the DNP and FNP or CM post professional nursing programs whose clinical rotations are conducted only at their existing place of employment may possibly be exempted from this additional requirement.   All other students (DPM, DPT, MPA, MOT) must complete a drug screen upon advance notification from their program clinical faculty/staff or program chair.  Currently, if students maintain continuous enrollment, they will not be asked to repeat a drug screen by the majority of clinical agencies.  Some agencies, however, may establish different timeframes for their drug screening and it is possible that some students will be required to be screened more than one time.

The student drug screening process is paperless and is currently completed through a third party agent Certifiedbackground.com.  Students register, pay, receive an e-chain custody and control form and make a lab appointment, all online.  As a final step in the process students must visit a nearby lab collection site.  A Medical Review Officer (MRO) consults confidentially with any student that tests positive to verify if there is a valid medical explanation. Complete and accurate results are typically available within 48 hours.  At any time a student can access, view and print his/her completed confidential report results from their online account.

The Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services can view the current status of a student’s report online and print a student’s report, once it is completed.

Confidentiality

All student background check and drug screen reports are highly confidential.  Access to report results is restricted to the individual student and the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services.  Student report information is archived in a secure, third-party online database (Certifiedbackground.com or  Verifystudents.com) and can be accessed, viewed, and retrieved as needed.

Criminal Background check report:  Due to privacy practices the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services will not release a student’s confidential report to anyone including clinical agencies, faculty or staff.  Upon request from an SMU faculty clinical coordinator, the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services will confirm only the completion date and status of a student’s criminal background check. 

A student’s confidential criminal background report is their own personal property.   Should a student choose to share their background report information with their clinical site, it is recommended in the interest of both privacy and protection against identity theft that they take care to ‘cleanse’ their report (eliminate personal information such as ss# and address).  It is also recommended that the student not allow the clinical site to duplicate or hold a copy of their confidential report.

Drug Screen Report:  All drug screens are completely confidential and available only to the student and to the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services. Students can be confident that results will never be viewed by unauthorized sources. The Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services will release a student’s confidential drug screen report to a clinical site only upon request from the student or the student’s SMU faculty/clinical coordinator.  The report is released only under highly confidential cover directly to an authorized, pre-appointed individual at the student’s clinical site.  This individual has been pre-designated as the responsible party for receiving and reviewing the student’s information.

Student Criminal Background Check

The CBC process includes a level one health professions, seven year search of:

  • Social Security Number Trace:  Confirms a student's true identity and legal employment status
  • Residential History
  • Felony/Misdemeanor Criminal Conviction Search: the student’s current county of residence as well as any additional names, and/or counties discovered on the Social Security Number Trace.
    • All counties of residence in the U.S.    
    • Seven year county criminal record search (provides convictions of felonies & misdemeanors)
  • USA Patriot Act:  OIG (Office of the Inspector General) List of Excluded Parties: List of Excluded Individuals/Entities, General Services Administration (GSA) Excluded Parties List, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), Specially Designated Nations (SDN) and Designated Persons Lists (DPL)
  • GSA (General Services Administration) Cumulative Sanction Report:  Excluded Parties List, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), Specially Designated Nations (SDN) and Designated Persons Lists (DPL)
  • Nationwide Database & Sex Offender Reg.
  • Nationwide Healthcare Fraud & Abuse Reg.

Student Audience:  all students admitted to SMU must complete a criminal background check.

Timing:  A final criminal background check report takes 5-10 working days to complete from the time a student registers online to initiate the search process.

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK INSTRUCTIONS

To complete a new criminal background check report:

Your Results:

Your completed, confidential report will be (a) accessible to you through your certifiedbackground.com account  (b) automatically received and secured by the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services.

Certifiedbackground.com:  888-666-7788, option 1 (M-Th 5am-5pm, Friday 5am-3pm, Sun 9am - 5pm PT)

If you have already completed a criminal background check through Certifiedbackground.com or Verifystudents.com upon your admission to SMU and you:

  • Need to access, view, print your report go online to www.Certifiedbackground.com  (your will need your online account id and passcode)
  • Have forgotten your online account id and passcode, have questions or need assistance accessing your report please contact their student customer support as followsCertifiedbackground.com student support:  888-666-7788,(M-Th 5am-5pm, Friday 5am-3pm, Sun 9am - 5pm PT)

If you have questions or are unsure of your criminal background screen status please contact:

Kathie McWilliams
Enrollment and Student Services
Tel. 510.869.6715
kmcwilliams@samuelmerritt.edu

Student Drug Screening (DS)

The DS process for students rotating through SMU contracted clinical facility rotations is a standard 10-Panel Urine Test as follows:

  • Certifiedbackground.com screening and Verifystudent.com detect the following 10 drugs:
    • 1-Cocaine Metabolites, 2-Amphetamines (Class)AMPHETAMINES (CLASS), 3- Barbiturates, 4- Benzodiazepines 5-Marijuanametabolite, 6- Opiates, 7- Phencyclidine, 8- Propoxyphene /Metabolite, 9 - Methadone 10- Methaqualone.
  • All screenings include an MRO Review.  Both negative and confirmed positive results are transmitted from the laboratory to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) immediately upon completion of laboratory analysis and Certifying Scientist Review.  Negative results are typically returned within 24 hours. All results are then posted for both the student and the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services to review.

Student Audience

  • All newly admitted pre-licensure nursing students are required to complete a drug screen.  
  • All students admitted as post professional and special status with the exception of the DNP program must complete a drug screen, .
  • DPM, DPT, MPA and MOT students as required by their various clinical and field sites must complete a drug screen.

Timing:  Typically a drug screen report takes up to 5 days to complete from the time the student visits the lab.

DRUG SCREEN INSTRUCTIONS

To complete a new drug screen

Currently, for the majority of clinical agencies, if you maintain continuous enrollment, you will not be asked to repeat drug screening. However, be aware that some agencies may establish a different timeframe for their drug screening and it is possible that you will need to be tested more than this one time.

  • Go online to register, pay for and initiate your required drug screen click on the following link: https://www.certifiedbackground.com/cgi-bin/packageCode.pl?company_code=SK10dt
  • Cost is $35, please have a credit ready for online payment
  • Under the ‘Student Information’ section, in the ‘Student I.D.’ field, be sure to key in your full 9 digit SMU student i.d. number as it is listed on the back of your SMU ID card (upper left corner) and/or your SMU student account statement  (include the letter ‘P’ followed by the full 9 digits of your SMU ID number).
  • Complete the registration process with your personal information.
  • Complete the payment process (cost is $35).  Please have a credit card (Visa/Mastercard/American Express/Discover) information ready in order to process payment for your drug screening.
  • Within 24 hours you will receive an email from certifiedprofile.com with your e-chain (electronic chain of custody form) registration form attached as a pdf document.  Your ‘e-chain’ form has a bar-coded list of authorized lab locations conveniently located near you to select from. 
  • Please print the form and take it with you when visit your selected lab.

Note:  To avoid repeating an abnormal drug screening result, please make sure that you:

  • Avoid drinking too much fluid prior to the exam, it will cause a dilute and an abnormal result.
  • Screenings indicating abnormal results are sent to a medical review officer, who will contact the individual student directly if they have questions.

Your Results:

When your confidential report is fully completed, it will be:

  • accessible to you through your certifiedbackground.com account 
  • automatically received and secured by the Office of the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services.
  • If you cannot view your completed drug screen report within 5 days of visiting the lab and your clinical rotation deadline is imminent, please contact student support as follows:

Contact Certifiedbackground.com student support:  888-666-7788, option 1 (M-Th 5am-5pm, Friday 5am-3pm, Sun 9am - 5pm PT) or email: customerservice@certifiedbackground.com

For students who completed a criminal background or drug screen throughVerifystudents.com and:

  • Need to access, view, print your report, go online to www.verifystudents.com (you will need your online account id and passcode)
  • Have forgotten your online account id and passcode, have questions or need assistance accessing your report please contact their student customer support as follows:

Contact Verifystudents.com customer service at:  800-229-8606, option 3 (M-F 7:30am-3:30pm PT)

If you have questions or are unsure of your criminal background or drug screen status please contact:

Kathie McWilliams
Enrollment and Student Services
Tel. 510.869.6715
kmcwilliams@samuelmerritt.edu