Healthcare workers are trusted with patients’ lives. That’s why thorough criminal and healthcare background checks are necessary for any medical facility’s hiring process. Healthcare background checks should also include professional license verification searches. These are critical for roles that allow employees to handle medication and other healthcare supplies.
Ensure the Right Qualifications
In the healthcare industry, simple mistakes and abuse can have severe consequences. Your medical staff should be capable and qualified to handle the sensitive work they are tasked with. Background checks can help ensure your employees have the right qualifications, including educational credentials, licensing, employment history, and criminal convictions. While some positions don’t require a background check, all other healthcare workers should undergo one. These checks can reveal that a candidate has faked their education, worked at unrelated jobs, or committed a crime while working in another position. This can be particularly dangerous for healthcare professionals, who have access to drugs and medications that can be harmful if not handled properly. A national criminal search is a standard part of any background check and can reveal information about a potential employee’s past. It can also display any felony convictions, which could disqualify an applicant for a medical job. The criminal record portion of a background check typically goes back seven years, although some medical organizations go further in their investigations. A specific search that should be included in all medical background checks is a national sex offender search. It searches records from every state and territory to find registered sex offenders. This is an essential search for medical facilities because they often work with vulnerable patients, such as children and elderly adults.
Prevent Negligent Hiring
While it is illegal to discriminate based on criminal record, there are specific industries where conducting background checks is simply mandatory. One of those industries is healthcare. Clients trust medical professionals with their lives and health and depend on the workers they hire to be honest and trustworthy. If a company hires a sex offender or someone with a severe drug conviction, those people will lose faith in the medical practice that hired them and may not come back. Conducting thorough background checks is the only way to guarantee that a new hire will be qualified and responsible. Medical background checks go beyond criminal record investigations and should include drug testing, verification of education and experience, and sex offender registry searches. These investigations are vital in a field where the most vulnerable populations rely on those who work with them to care for them. It takes a lot of time and care to verify and ensure an applicant’s information is accurate. That is why most companies that conduct healthcare background checks enlist the help of professional screening providers. These providers can achieve multiple local, state, and federal searches while complying with all applicable laws. They can also contact schools, employers, and licensing boards to understand an applicant’s history. They can even check for aliases and other name variations to ensure they search all the correct records.
The medical field is highly specialized and requires a high level of education, experience, judgment, discretion, attention to detail, and ethical decision-making. It is a high-stakes industry that relies on patients’ trust to save lives and maintain medical excellence. Background checks help protect the integrity of healthcare practices by ensuring that new hires are who they claim to be, have no criminal record, and won’t pose a risk to their colleagues or patients. Medical background checks typically include criminal history, drug tests, and education and employment verification. They also may consist of a FACIS or OIG/SAM Sanctions Search, which checks for disciplinary action against doctors that could prevent them from being reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. Depending on the position’s needs, other role-specific checks, such as motor vehicle and credit history checks, can also be included in a medical background check package. For example, an ambulance driver should receive a check on their driving history to ensure patient safety. Likewise, a hospital administrator handling financial records should undergo a credit check. These additional checks don’t make sense for every healthcare job, but they are essential for certain positions that require special skills or access to confidential information.
While criminal record checks are a standard part of the hiring process for most employers, they take on particular importance in healthcare. Medical professionals interact with the most vulnerable in society, and even a minor crime can put patients at risk of harm or abuse. A background check can uncover criminal convictions like robbery, assault, sexual offenses against children or seniors, drug-related offenses, and more. A healthcare background check also includes a search for professional licenses, which verify that the applicant holds the relevant certifications to work in their role. It can also have an identity verification search to ensure the candidate is not lying about their qualifications. Because many hospitals and other medical offices are reimbursed by government healthcare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE, it’s crucial that you only hire healthcare workers who are qualified to participate in those policies. A federal exclusion search allows you to view the list of people prohibited from working in healthcare and ensure that your hospital or practice isn’t accidentally hiring an excluded individual. As the recent cases of Kenneth Dean Lee, a Colorado predator who sexually assaulted vulnerable Vietnamese immigrants, and Walgreens, which was fined for a pharmacist’s misuse of patient data, make clear, any negligence by healthcare employees can have devastating consequences for their patients. An effective background check and the credentialing process can help reduce these risks and protect the safety of your patients.