Background Screening Essentials for California Healthcare Education
Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP
October 11 2016
The healthcare education industry in California faces a unique set of challenges when placing students in clinical settings. Both the hospital and sponsoring educational institution are up against enormous legal and financial risks, and conducting background checks on these individuals can come with significant negative consequences.
The Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) requires that healthcare companies include students in their background check policies. While this requirement serves to mitigate risk, employment background checks are continuously scrutinized and even the tiniest flaw in screening practices can result in legal complaints.
What are the primary CA laws impacting the healthcare education industry?California has some of the most complex regulations in the US when it comes to pre-employment background checks. Third party investigative background screenings on medical and nursing students must meet both the federal guidelines set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as well as state-specific regulations.
- The California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA), for example, requires that employers who use third party screeners must provide an extensive and state- specific notice before running a background check on medical or nursing students each time an investigative report is requested. Additionally, public records information is generally limited to the past 7 years, with exceptions for regulated industries such as healthcare.
- The Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA) covers an employer’s use of consumer credit reports, which can only be requested for certain positions in California such as healthcare. Similar to the ICRAA, the CCRAA requires employers and third party screeners meet stringent notice and consent procedures.