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In This Issue
Data Breach: The need for Comprehensive Pre-employment Screening
Extension of subsidy for COBRA recipients
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Private Eyes, Inc.
April 2010 Newsletter
Sandra JamesGreetings!

As the Spring Equinox passes and we are now entrenched in the Spring season, congress has recently approved healthcare reform in both houses, creating new laws dealing with our national health care system.


While views of the Healthcare Bill's passage are mixed, its impact will be substantial. Thus, this month's letter will contain a little bit of a healthcare focus as well as the mention of another bill that was passed just before the historic Healthcare Reform Bill.


We'll examine a healthcare industry story about the use of a best-practice approach for conducting a comprehensive pre-employment screening process in order to avoid possible security breaches or data theft. Although it may seem cost effective to run a bare-minimum check at first, this article highlights the importance of using more feature packed screening process.


Lastly, I'll update you on a feature of the Employment Bill that was passed shortly before the Healthcare Bill and an amendment in the Temporary Employment Act of 2010 that allows for an extension of COBRA subsidies.


Although the changing face of healthcare and employment are changing quickly every day, learning from the challenges of others and keeping up to date on new programs is essential for companies to stay ahead of new encounters.

Data Breach: The need for a comprehensive pre-employment screening 

Ordering a basic pre-employment package may not be enough to find out if a new hire will be safe for your company. Executive Healthcare Managment (EHM) has an article about the potential pitfalls of not running a fully featured screening package. Adding to the complexity, the historic healthcare legislation signed will mean that organizations will have more stringent hiring standards by following both state and federal standards.


EHM tells the true story of when a new privacy office began working at a 300-bed medical facility learns that a contracted nurse had been taking patient records home. The nurse would copy the records and then replace them once she was done. These records included date of births, social security numbers, and other sensitive information. Because of large number of records copied by the nurse, some 630 files, the facility was faced with notifying the victims, legal questions, and strained public relations.


Once the privacy office became aware of the situation, she had to hire an outside risk consulting firm in order to investigate how such a breach was able to occur. Quickly, the firm found that, while the contract nurse seemed qualified, only a "bare minimum" background screening was performed. A more substantive check revealed that the nurse had a substance abuse problem, bad credit, pled guilty to theft, and felony possession of controlled substances. Because the nurse was contracted, the medical facility relied on the agency's background check which did not conduct a credit check, or drug screening.


Even when contracting from an outside agency, stringent screening plays a key role in preventing incidents such as the above. A best-practice criminal search should include a residential history trace combined with an alias search and drug test. While it may seem economical to run a "bare-bone" pre-employment screening to meet state or federal law, the cost to a business could be far more if the wrong applicant is hired.


For the full article please click here.

Extension of subsidy for COBRA Recipients
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With all the excitement and fervor over the new healthcare reform, some may have missed the new extension to COBRA subsidies. An amendment to the recently passed Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (TEA) will extend the deadline for terminated employees to apply for the COBRA premium subsidy. The DOL's Updated Model Notice outlines that involuntarily terminated workers released from service between September 1 2008 and March 31 2010, may be eligible for a 65% subsidy of their COBRA for up to 15 months after their termination.


The below is one of the updated notices provided by the expansion of COBRA ARRA subsidy:


Plans subject to continuation coverage provisions under Federal or State law should provide, within 60 days of the date of the termination of employment, a Notice of New Election Period to all individuals who qualify.   
For the full article please click here. For additional information, please see the DOL's updated COBRA Premium Reduction Fact Sheet.
Sandra James
President, CEO
Private Eyes, Inc.