1 in 3 Americans have been convicted of a crime in their lifetime. [1] Getting a job with a criminal record in the healthcare industry is difficult, even impossible for certain jobs. Not only are the licensing authorities who issue licenses to medical professionals likely to discipline a license holder for the criminal conviction, but the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) maintains information regarding adverse actions of health care practitioners, entities, providers, and suppliers which can be accessed by potential employers. The good news is that with criminal convictions being so prevalent, it is still possible to get a great job in the healthcare profession following an arrest and conviction. The first step is to clean up your criminal record. To do so, you have to have been a convicted of a misdemeanor (or a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor). Second, you have to perform admirably while on summary or formal probation and complete probation successfully. Finally, once you have successfully completed probation, you should petition to have your criminal conviction dismissed.
In California, if a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor and has successfully completed probation, they are eligible to have the conviction dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4. This dismissal, also known as “expungement” allows a defendant to petition the court to withdraw or change their plea, and the court will then set aside a guilty verdict and dismiss the case:

the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code.

Penal Code 1203.4.
Once the court enters an order granting the dismissal, the defendant is relieved of all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense with some exceptions. While a dismissal can clear up your criminal record, granting a dismissal petition does not relieve you of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery. Further, dismissal does not:

  1. Affect DMV actions or further consequences for crimes involving the operation of a motor vehicle;
  2. Permit the defendant to own, possess or have in their custody or control any concealable firearm; or
  3. Seal your record.

Once these actions are taken, dispute any report with the NPDB to ensure that the status of the criminal conviction is reflected within the database.
Federal law specifies the actions reported to the NPDB, who submits the reports, and who queries to obtain copies of the reports. Although the reports are confidential and not available to the public, organizations authorized to access the NPBD use the reports to make licensing, credentialing, and/or employment decisions regarding those individuals listed.  Any subject of an Adverse Action Report with the NPDB may dispute the report. To do so, the individual listed is the only one who can provide a statement to augment/dispute the report. A statement may not be made by an attorney on the subject’s behalf. Once the statement is submitted, it is added to the report, and is disclosed to anyone who has reviewed a report in the past three (3) years, and to anyone who later requests a report on the individual.

Placing a Report in Dispute with the NPDB

To place a report in dispute, one must:

  1. Go to the NPDB homepage and click Sign In.
  2. Next, click Sign In with a Report Number. The Sign In with a Report Number page displays.
  3. On the Sign In with a Report Number page, the Report Number and Password are entered before clicking Sign In.
  4. On the Practitioner Identification page, enter your Date of Birth and/or your SSN/ITIN. Click Continue.
  5. On the Report Response Options page, select Add a statement or dispute to this report. The Subject Statement and Dispute page opens.
  6. On the Subject Statement and Dispute Page, you can add a statement of up to 4,000 characters in the Subject Statement section. You can also place the report in dispute by checking the box in the Dispute section.
  7. Check to see that your address information is current and update it if necessary. An email address is required. Enter your Certification Data and click Submit to Data Bank.
  8. On the Subject Statement and Dispute Status page, select View Report to view a PDF version of the Report you can save for your records. No other copy of the report will be sent to you. The updated Report containing your new Subject Statement and/or Dispute information will be sent to the reporting entity identified in Section A of the report and all entities who have previously received the report. (Note: Once a report is in dispute, contact the health care organization that entered the report to resolve the issue.)
  9. Click Return to Report Response Options to view your Activity History or reply to a NPDB message.

Once a report is placed in dispute, the reporting health care organization can correct the report, void the report, or leave the report unchanged. If after 60 days you have received no response from the reporting health care organization or you are unsatisfied with the response you received, you can elevate the case to Dispute Resolution.

Elevate Dispute Resolution

To elevate your report to Dispute Resolution, follow these steps:

  1. On the NPDB homepage, click Sign In. Then click Sign In with a Report Number. The Sign In with a Report Number page displays.
  2. On the Sign In with a Report Number page, enter the Report Number and Password provided in your notification of the report, then click Sign In.
  3. Read through the information on the Rules of Behavior page, check the box to acknowledge the rules, and then click Continue.
  4. On the Practitioner Identification page, enter your Date of Birth and/or your SSN/ITIN. Click Continue.
  5. On the Report Response Options page, select Request a Dispute Resolution. This link only appears on this page after you have placed the report in dispute for 60 days.
  6. On the Request for Dispute Resolution page, you must select the reason for requesting the review and provide proof that resolution with the reporting entity was attempted.
  7. Enter your Point(s) of Dispute, attaching any supporting documentation.
  8. Check that your addresses are entered correctly, enter the Certification Data, and click Continue. An email address is required. The Request for Dispute Resolution Status page appears.
  9. On the Request for Dispute Resolution Status page, if you are ready to elevate your report to Dispute Resolution, read the instructions carefully and click Continue.
  10. Print the Request for Dispute Resolution document. If you did not electronically attach all documentation during steps 6 and 7 above, mail a signed and dated copy of the Request for Dispute Resolution document to the specified address with the following information:
    1. Documentation substantiating that the reporting health care organization’s information is inaccurate must be submitted. The documentation must directly relate to the facts in dispute and contribute substantially to a determination of the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and relevance of the report. The documentation must be 20 pages or less, including all attachments and exhibits; more information is requested if necessary.
    2. Proof you attempted to resolve the disagreement with the reporting health care organization and that it was unsuccessful must be provided. A copy of whatever correspondence you had with the health care organization, and their response fulfills this requirement.
  11. Click Return to Report Response Options to view your Dispute Resolution Progress, view your Activity History, or reply to a NPDB message.

The Secretary reviews your disputed report to determine if the action is reportable, and whether the report accurately describes the reporter’s actions and reasons for action. The Secretary does not review the merits of a medical malpractice payment, or the appropriateness of/basis for an adverse action or a judgment or conviction. Issues of due process are not reviewed by the Secretary; you must resolve them with the reporting health care organization. When the review is complete, the Secretary will decide whether a report is accurate, complete, timely, and relevant and whether the issues are outside the scope of Dispute Resolution.
Once your criminal matter has been dismissed, we can finalize the statement and have you submit it to the NPDB.

Drafting a Subject Statement

Drafting a subject statement is an important component of disputing a report, as it is the basis by which the NPDB determines whether to augment your report. The statement can be only 4,000 characters and there can be no personally identifiable information (names/addresses) nor any links to websites included. Remember that the tone of the statement must be appropriate for all queriers who receive a copy of the report. Any supporting documentation can be only 20 pages long.
[1] https://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/cc_HiT_CriminalRecords_profile_1.pdf