Corra Daily Planet » 2010 » November

Hiring Cops and Background Checks

Tue, November 30th, 2010 - 6:49 am - By Gordon Basichis

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This is rare news, at least these days.   The City of Aurora, Colorado is actually hiring law enforcement officers.  Most cities are experiencing an economic downtown and have succumbed to budget restraints.  But Aurora is moving forward, although there is some concern for the types of added services the police perform.  Some believe these additional services would be more cost effective if conducted elsewhere.

Background checks for instance are one consideration.   Aurora employs full time law enforcement officers to conduct background checks on new police employment candidates.  Denver does the same but in Denver the overall cost is, according to the article on the website, nearly eight percent less.   Denver runs three times the background checks they do in Aurora.

The reason?  Apparently Denver used to employ full-time detectives conduct its background checks, like Aurora. But in 2002, Denver’s Police Chief and Manager of Public Safety decided they could save  a few bucks, about $1 million, annually,  if they hired retired  police officers.   The retired police officers get paid $21 an hour to conduct background checks for new police officers and firefighters.   This prudent move also freed up Denver’s detectives to focus on crime instead of paperwork.

According to the article, Denver spends about $100,000 for about 250 background checks.   On the other hand, Aurora spent more than $600,000 in 2010 to conduct about 140 background checks.

Perhaps Aurora should follow Denver’s lead on this and hire retired detectives to run background checks on its new hires in the police and fire department.   Save a few bucks.  Keep the current detectives working on cases.   Seems like a win-win.

Check them out before you hire.

Gun Buyer Background Checks on the Increase

Mon, November 29th, 2010 - 6:02 am - By Gordon Basichis

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It is deer season in Wisconsin.    With the economic downturn it would stand to reason that more actual hunters and would-be hunters would try their hand and bagging a deer and bringing in meat for the year.   It is cheaper and fresher than most market fare.    And with deer season hunters buy new firearms.

Which is probably why gun sales seem to be up.  And with the increase of gun sales, there is this year an increase in background checks on prospective gun buyers.  Doug Schieder, writer for the Greenbay Press Gazette reports  a fair number of interesting statistics.  But one of the main correlations is that with the increase background checks,  crime is declining.    Even with the debate on gun rights and gun ownership, the sign that increased  background checks are concomitant with a decline in violent crime is a notable sign.   I write this knowing a great many factors should be considered before we draw any conclusions.

Here are some interesting facts from the  Greenbay Press Gazette–

“Nationally, Kentucky generates more background checks than any other U.S. state or territory. The Bluegrass State prompted 2.1 million background checks in 2009 and is on pace to exceed that this year. Texas exceeded the 1 million mark this past year but is on pace for about 900,000 in 2010.

At the other end of the scale, Hawaii has the fewest such checks — 8,799 so far this year.”

Courts Closed for Thanksgiving Holidays

Thu, November 25th, 2010 - 6:35 am - By Gordon Basichis

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A reminder for those conducting employment screening, such background checks as county criminal records and county civil records, will be delayed as the courts are closed throughout the United States, Thursday, November 25th, and Friday November 27th.   As the Departments of Public Safety and Departments of Highway Patrol are also closed there will be no access to state criminal records on those days, either.

Wishing all a good Thanksgiving Holiday.

Background Checks for Doctors Pitching for Drug Companies

Wed, November 24th, 2010 - 6:31 am - By Gordon Basichis

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A long tradition is for drugmakers to use doctors as pitchmen and speakers, extolling the virtues of the company and whatever new series of drugs they have developed.   Other doctors and medical groups find it credible when one of their own speaks out in behalf  of a new drug or company n at the various conclaves and meetings.   The industry, if you will, where pharma companies hire doctors as their advocates, is big stuff  for the industry and mutually beneficial to the drugmakers and the physicians alike.

However, all is not without speed bumps in River City.   An article in FiercePharma cites a  recent Pro Publica report concerning doctor-industry relationships.  As a result of the report, the drug companies will be conducting increased background checks on the doctors who serve as their pitch people.    The Pro Public report, I love Pro Publica,  found that more than 250 company-paid doctors had been sanctioned for misconduct.   The doctors were cited for such violations as prescribing excessive or unnecessary medications, and making serious medical errors.   Seventy of them had been sanctioned multiple times, and 21 of them had repeated violations on their records.  This for me is hardly stunning, as I have reviewed a number of Pro Publica reports where various healthcare personnel were being staffed despite their having criminal records and a quantity of disciplinary actions against them.

This rather stark and seemingly surprising  introduction to reality has caused such pharmaceutical mainstays as  Eli Lilly,  Astra Zeneca, and Merck  to put the physicians they hire under better scrutiny.   Lilly intends to hire a third party service to conduct its background checks.    Astra Zeneca wants to figure out how it can best obtain records of state disciplinary actions.  As these companies have a lot to lose by putting the wrong physicians before prospective clients and groups of interest, conducting background checks is highly advisable.  In fact, besides conducting criminal records, the drugmakers would be well advised to conduct the FACIS search, which incorporates both the OIG/GSA with more than 1,300 reporting agencies in fifty states who are responsible for disciplinary actions against healthcare workers.    This type of search is required by hospitals and health institutions as part of their healthcare sanctions employment screening compliance program, so then why not the drug companies?

I must say with so much at stake, it is pretty remarkable the larger pharma companies have thus far operated on good faith in belief their pitch-doctors were without any potentially embarrassing behavior.  Given all that is at stake in the drug industry, the huge amount of money that is on the line, it would seem that the few bucks spent for background checks would go a long way to relieving potentially sleepless nights.

I guess not.

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