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December 16, 2011

Data Facts adopts new technology to aid screening of employee's criminal activity


By Christopher Sheffield

Data Facts Inc. is rolling out a new product this month to help employers conduct ongoing screening and background checks of employees after they are hired.

The product, Infinity Screening, is being introduced in partnership with Newport News, Va.-based Innovative Enterprises Inc., which developed the screening tool and licenses its use to select resellers such as Memphis-based Data Facts. The company has some market exclusivity for the product, but there are other vendors offering similar products.

Among the most likely users of a post-employment screening product will be the health care industry, which is facing increased scrutiny by regulators and the legal community over the liability of employing those with criminal records for certain jobs or those who have let their credentials lapse.

"Maybe at one point in their career they were checked, but because they did this 10 years ago doesn't mean they should not be checked again," says Lisa May, vice president of marketing for Data Facts. "If they have direct patient care, that can present a risk."

But, human resource professionals say, criminal records don't necessarily negate employment but can limit work assignments.

Among its numerous services that include credit reporting, tax return, Social Security and mortgage verifications, the company does background screenings in 35 states.

The Infinity Screening technology not only looks at criminal records and the status of professional licenses, but can check registration recors requires by the Drug Enforcement Administration for those handling controlled substances or sanctions issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.

Stuart Wilkinson, UT Medical Group Inc.'s vice president of human resources, says post-employment screening has not traditionally been a common practice for employers. However, improved technology and liability concerns are making it more common, he says.

Recentlym UTMG was forced to dismiss a long-time employee -- not for criminal activity, but for failing to renew a profeccional license, Wilkinson says.

The person was a month late getting recertified and only needed to send in a check, he says.

"That's how serious this has become," he says. | (901) 259-1726

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