Pre-Employment Background Investigation Policy For Residents and Fellows

Purpose

This policy outlines the procedure for the pre-employment background investigation of applicants for a position in any accredited residency and fellowship program sponsored or administered by the office of Graduate Medical Education (GME) of the University at Buffalo (UB). UB is committed to excellence and service to the community in its selection and training of residents and fellows and considers the safety and security of our community and the patients served by UB residency and fellowship programs are our highest priority. This policy seeks to minimize unreasonable risk to our community and patients, particularly where the nature of a prior criminal conviction directly bears on the individual’s fitness or ability to perform his or her duties and responsibilities as a resident or fellow.

Scope

All residents and fellows entering UB sponsored residency or fellowship programs on or after June 24, 2019 will be subject to a pre-employment (post-offer) background investigation (Background Investigation). This includes any prior UB resident or fellow who has had a break in service and is returning to a UB sponsored program on or after this date.  No applicant for a residency or fellowship position will be approved for participation in a UB sponsored program until this procedure is completed and the results of the Background Investigation have been considered by GME and the applicable training program. An applicant who refuses to consent to such investigation is ineligible for employment as a resident or fellow and to participate in the program.

Procedure

See Appendices A and B Below:

  1. Requirement: Applicants to all residency and fellowship programs sponsored or administered by GME or UB will be notified in writing of the requirement for the Background Investigation at the time of interview; and further, that a conditional offer of employment by University Medical Resident Services, P.C. and University Dental Resident Services, P.C. (UMRS/UDRS) may be withdrawn or rescinded in the event the applicant refuses or declines to consent to the Background Investigation. Residents and fellows returning from a break in service will be notified of the requirement to consent to this investigation prior to their return to the program.
  2. Timeframe: Within sixty (60) days after applicable match process, applicants will be notified in writing about the need for a Background Investigation. For programs not participating in a matching process, the applicants will be so notified in their conditional offer of employment.
  3. Dual Component of the Procedure:  The Background Investigation consists of two components:  first, the applicant will be required to complete a self-disclosure questionnaire and consent form, and second, a formal background investigation will be conducted by an Investigation Vendor.
  4. Consent: Consent Form CF-051315-WDT (Appendix B) will be provided to each incoming resident and fellow for completion during the onboarding process. The completed consent forms will be forwarded to the third party background investigation vendor approved by GME (Investigation Vendor). The Investigation Vendor shall perform the Background Investigation and issue a report for each incoming resident or fellow. The process shall comply with the applicable requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and all other applicable federal and state law.
  5. International Medical Graduates: International residents and fellows who have had a background investigation performed as part of the issuance or renewal of a visa under the provisions of the Patriot Act on October 21, 2001 within the past six (6) months are not subject to a background investigation.
  6. Report: The Investigation Vendor will provide GME with a copy of the Background Investigation report when same is completed for each incoming resident and fellow.
  7. Information: The Background Investigation report shall include information on all prior criminal convictions and sexual offender registry status. Prior arrests or detention orders that did not result in criminal convictions or pleas or were expunged, or sealed convictions, shall not be considered.
  8. Nondiscriminatory Evaluation: Criminal conviction information shall be used solely for the purpose of evaluating applicants under final consideration for UB sponsored residency or fellowship training programs. The information shall not be used to discriminate on the basis of any legally protected status.
  9. No Adverse Record: Upon receipt of a Background Investigation report with no adverse record, a residency employment agreement will be processed by the GME office.
  10. Adverse Record: Should an adverse record be received as a result of information obtained from the Background Investigation, the GME HR Coordinator shall de-identify a copy of the Background Investigation report and provide the de-identified copy to the Advisory Review Committee (ARC) and applicant, together with any notices required by New York State law, and an administrative review shall be conducted by the Advisory Review Committee (ARC).  All related information will be treated and protected as confidential information.
  11. Advisory Review Committee: The ARC shall consist of the of the following individuals or their designee:
    • GME Director of Human Resources
    • GME Resident and Fellow Ombudsman
    • Program Director Advisory Council (PDAC) representative
    • Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) hospital administration representative from each health system designated by the Designated Institutional Official

This Committee will review the results of an adverse record on a case by case basis, as well as any corroborating evidence from the applicant or other legal entity, or a statement from the resident or fellow addressing the result if they submit one, to determine whether or not to recommend approval for the resident or fellow to participate in the program. The Committee’s recommendation shall be made to the Designated Institutional Official.

UB-Affiliated health system representative on the GMEC shall have access to the results of the backgroud checks and drug tests performed on all residents and fellows during their employment with UMRS/UDRS.

In accordance with federal and New York State laws, a previous conviction shall not automatically disqualify the applicant from consideration for participation in a UB sponsored training program. The ARC and Designated Institutional Official shall assess the potential risks and job-relatedness of each conviction in relation to the training position. Additional other relevant considerations may include, but are not limited to, the nature and number of convictions, their dates and length of time since the criminal conviction, and the context of the events surrounding the criminal conviction.

Applicants may be required by the Investigation Vendor conducting the Background Investigation to provide additional information needed by the Investigation Vendor for purposes of conducting the Background Investigation. Applicants with pending criminal proceedings shall be evaluated based on the aforementioned factors.

  1. Final Decision: The final decision on whether to allow the resident or fellow to participate in the UB sponsored training program shall be in the sole and exclusive judgment of the Designated Institutional Official. If the final decision is to rescind an offer of employment, based upon an adverse Background Investigation, that decision will be communicated to the applicant, GME and program director in writing in compliance with the FCRA.
  2. Rescind Offer: If the Designated Institutional Official determines not to approve a resident or fellow to participate in the program, the offer of employment and participation in the program will be rescinded as follows:
    • for those residents and fellows who came to UMRS/UDRS though the Match, GME must request a Match waiver prior to rescinding the offer of employment; and
    • for all other residents and fellows, GME shall advise the individual in writing that its conditional offer of employment is rescinded.
  3. File and Recordkeeping: Any Background Investigation report, held outside of the Investigation Vendor’s recordkeeping system, will be retained in a confidential electronic record. Criminal conviction information shall not be made a part of the applicant file, or the resident or fellow GME or program file.
  4. Record Request: The resident or fellow will be provided a copy of the Background Investigation report results upon request.

Background Investigation Report Description

The following Background Investigation report will be prepared to verify identity and for criminal conviction history; to determine if relevant to residency or fellowship training employment:

  • Social Security Number Trace/Verification/Address History
  • Criminal Records Search by County at the Courthouse - (2) prior to application
  • Medical Exclusions Search/Terrorist Watch List (Nationwide)
  • Federal Criminal Records Search
  • Nationwide Sex Offender Registry Search (Includes NYS)

Appendix A:

This is a graphic of a completed background investigation decision tree.

Completed background check decision tree.

Appendix B:

This is the consent form to be completed for the background check.

Image of the form to be completed for the background check.

Established: 2020
GMEC Approved Date: April 21, 2020