Requirements of Section 16.34 of the Mental Hygiene Law
EFFECTIVE August 21, 2013:
REVISION TO MHL 16.34 check process for applicants with no prior experience working or volunteering for an entity in the OPWDD service delivery system
OPWDD has initiated a change to the current process to streamline and expedite the MHL 16.34 check. As you know, OPWDD recently implemented a process to meet the requirements of section 16.34 of the Mental Hygiene Law which requires OPWDD to facilitate checks of prospective employee and volunteer abuse history prior to June 30, 2013. It is required that these individuals supply information about employment and volunteer history for the prior seven years and employment/volunteer history at any time for positions where the applicant provided services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Since going into effect on June 30, 2013, this has been completed via Form OPWDD 152 Applicant Information. This information has then been submitted to the OPWDD Incident Management Unit (IMU) along with the completed Form OPWDD 151. Since implementation of this process, agencies have been required to receive a response back from OPWDD before the applicant could have unsupervised contact with individuals receiving services. This was the case when OPWDD determined that there were “no results” because the applicant had no prior employment/volunteer history based on a review of information provided in the completed Form OPWDD 152.
In order to expedite this area of the MHL 16.34 check, OPWDD has revised the Form OPWDD 152. After an applicant has provided this completed form to the agency that is the potential employer, the agency should review the form. If the applicant has not indicated any employment or volunteer history in the OPWDD system, and the authorized person submitting the Form OPWDD 151 is unaware of any relevant employment/volunteer history in the OPWDD system, the authorized person can confirm that the applicant has no prior experience working or volunteering for an entity in the OPWDD service delivery system by certifying this on the completed Form OPWDD 152. If the authorized person is not sure if the employment/volunteer history was in the OPWDD system or knows that the person does have employment/volunteer history in the OPWDD system, the authorized person should NOT provide this certification. The authorized person should complete Form OPWDD 151 and both forms should then be submitted to OPWDD IMU at email@example.com. Copies of both forms should be kept by the agency (e.g. in the applicant’s personnel record). If the item on the Form OPWDD 152 is completed which certifies that the applicant has no employment/volunteer history in the OPWDD system, OPWDD will NOT be sending a response to the agency; the agency is considered to have received a “No results” response from OPWDD at the time of submission without one actually being sent. Providers can proceed with hiring the applicant and allowing the applicant to have unsupervised contact with individuals receiving services without receiving a response for the MHL 16.34 check from OPWDD in this situation, unless the provider is still awaiting the results of other required checks (e.g. CBC, SCR).
The revised Forms OPWDD 151 and OPWDD 152 can be found on the OPWDD website.
Please note that agencies should use the revised forms and submit the forms to the new OPWDD email address at firstname.lastname@example.org (regardless of whether the item on the OPWDD 152 is certified by the authorized person).
It is anticipated that this change will result in a more timely process for provider hiring when applicants have no prior experience working or volunteering for an entity in the OPWDD service delivery system. Existing requests that have been submitted to OPWDD for approval before August 21, 2013, will be processed and OPWDD will send results to the agency requesting the check. Please contact the Incident Management Unit with any questions on this change in process.