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Complete Guide to Healthcare Background Checks

PSI Team | Uncategorized

Background checks are a fact of life for any sort of job. Employers need to know that a potential employee is who they say they are and that they bring the skills and background necessary for the role. But some fields require background checks that go beyond simple confirmation of previous employers. Healthcare, for instance, demands a raft of investigations into a person’s past. After all, people who work in healthcare interact with individuals who are usually in need of help and often unable to protect themselves. Patient safety, as well as the safety of coworkers, is all-important. Explore this guide to healthcare background checks and learn what investigators look for in a candidate and why.

Employment Verification

The first and most obvious factor for any job is a background check, which looks at a candidate’s employment history. The investigators are asked to confirm that the individual has a history of working in healthcare. They review a candidate’s past and seek confirmation that they worked at the hospitals or healthcare centers they claim to have worked at. It’s also necessary to consider job history and determine whether their employers remember them as a good worker who diligently and dutifully cared for patients and performed their duties.

Education Verification

Some positions require degrees, credentials, certifications, or licenses that indicate knowledge of their subject matter and current knowledge of standards of care. Few healthcare positions are entry-level, and businesses should confirm the candidate’s degree of knowledge and experience before proceeding. A doctor lacking a doctorate is not a good look for any provider.

Criminal Background Check

In another form of standard background check, investigators search for criminal records, including arrests, convictions, and pending charges. A shoplifting charge in one’s youth may not disqualify a candidate. However, a record of violent crimes, robberies, and similar activities won’t look good for the facility should the individual engage in any of these actions again while employed.

Sex Offender Database Check

Healthcare often puts people in situations where their defenses are down. Patients may be bedridden, in a weakened state, or otherwise made into targets for sexual assault. A search of local, regional, and national sex offender databases can turn up candidates who have faced convictions for any number of sex crimes. A healthcare facility that employs convicted offenders puts their patients, employees, and others at risk and leaves themselves open to lawsuits and other legal proceedings.

Drug Screening

The healthcare field puts substance abusers in numerous situations where they have access to pharmaceuticals. Telling potential candidates that periodic drug tests are a condition of employment and communicating about substance policies is essential. Not all substance abuse situations are the same —communicating with a candidate about their history and screening results can help both the business and the candidate make informed decisions.

Credit Checks

Not every job in the healthcare field directly deals with patients. However, many jobs in billing, finance, and other departments put employees in contact with large amounts of money and personal records. Done in tandem with a criminal background check, investigators may also turn up evidence of previous malfeasance, fraud, and similar financial crimes. A credit check revealing financial difficulties should not necessarily be grounds for withdrawing an offer, but it is worth considering alongside other factors for certain roles.

Federal Exclusion Search

Many, if not most, healthcare providers work with the Federal government at some level, usually financially through programs such as Medicare. The US government maintains a federal exclusion list of individual workers who are not permitted to receive federal funds due to committing fraud or other criminal acts. This is not the sort of obstacle a facility wants since it can lead to the withdrawal of federal funding and more, causing a serious blow to its bottom line.

Healthcare Sanction and Exclusion Checks

Sometimes, a doctor or other healthcare provider may receive sanctions. Boards can issue these sanctions because a professional abused a patient, committed fraud, or committed other offenses. Boards may issue exclusions if they feel a provider might harm any future patients or facilities they work for. Those who have sanctions or exclusions issued against them may have their licenses revoked. The Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services oversees and provides access to a list of sanctioned and excluded healthcare providers. An investigation can also turn up censures, suspensions, and fines.

Driving Records

In the case of ambulance drivers and other individuals who operate healthcare facility vehicles, a clean driving record is paramount. Investigators search for evidence of moving violations, suspended licenses, episodes of driving under the influence, and similar issues. While the infrequent ticket is no cause for alarm, a steady stream of violations is a surefire red flag. Bad drivers also raise insurance rates and, once again, put the facility at financial and legal risk and potential passengers in peril.

Employment Eligibility Verification

In the United States of America, every individual a company or facility hires must have their identity and employment eligibility verified. Candidates receive this verification by filling out and submitting a Form I-9, which confirms the candidate’s citizenship or the right to work in the United States. Hiring undocumented workers can lead to fines and other sanctions from the federal government. It’s best to ensure human resources employees receive ongoing training in handling form I-9 to prevent future problems.

What Comes Next?

That’s a mostly complete guide to healthcare background checks. Conducting background checks on any potential employee can guarantee skilled and conscientious workers while protecting the facility and its employees from liability as well as lost business and liability. Healthcare facilities should already have made a best practice of hiring outside firms to conduct professional background check services. If you have questions about the process and how we can help you proceed to find the best candidates, contact us for a consultation today. We offer a selection of the above processes as well as years of experience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Complete Guide to Healthcare Background Checks