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Understanding Healthcare Background Check Policies

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

September 23 2022

Before hiring any healthcare professional, it’s critical to have a strong hospital background check policy. Not only does this ensure your healthcare organization remains safe and compliant, but it also affects us all on a personal level by providing us with healthcare workers we can trust.

My mother recently had a successful open-heart surgery. As she rested comfortably in the ICU, I took a deep breath and waited nervously. With each update my sister relayed, I grew more anxious. The anxiety came from the realization that my mother’s life was in the hands of strangers — physicians, therapists, nurses, and pharmacists (whose names I didn’t even know) would be making the decisions that would determine my mother’s quality of life.    

I had exchanged my preoccupation with researching medical terms for an obsession with the qualifications of ICU caregivers. Nurses, for example, must be comforting, dispense medication, make rapid, life-or-death decisions, stay ahead of the technology curve, and understand narcotics – just to list a few.

I realized that I had to place my trust in the hospital. More specifically, I had to trust the practices of the HR department: their recruiters, credentialers, trainers, and background screening company. 

 

Why Are Background Check Requirements for Healthcare Workers Important?

Comprehensive healthcare background checks ensure you hire the most qualified candidates and will predict their dedication to doing a great job. A candidate who has displayed irresponsible behavior in the past or lied about their experience may pose a risk to patients and healthcare facilities. Luckily, professional background screening criminal history reports and reference checks on healthcare workers will reveal any dishonesty, poor previous performance, or inappropriate behavior.

Healthcare employees on every level must comply with applicable laws and regulations. By verifying that your potential employee doesn’t have a criminal history, you will reduce the risk of future legal issues and build trust with patients.

 

What’s Included in a Healthcare Background Check?

Hospital and other healthcare facilities’ background check policies are more complex than other industries’ requirements due to licensing and compliance regulations. Often, they must be more thorough. Basic healthcare background checks frequently include the following:

  • National Criminal History Search Our national criminal background checks expands the search scope with a database search that quickly and affordably results in  a comprehensive criminal search. InfoMart’s National Criminal History Search then verifies each criminal offense directly at its source, making it one of the most reliable national criminal databases available. In most cases, we pair it with a statewide or county criminal search for additional information.
  • Continuous Criminal Monitoring The latest innovation in screening, criminal monitoring provides immediate data about a current employee’s criminal activity. Our technology scans 24/7 for new arrest data across the country and instantly reports its findings to you,  making it more proactive and intuitive than annual rescreens. This increases your patients’ safety and reduces costly legal issues for your healthcare firm. Check out this article to learn more about why you should continuously monitor healthcare workers.
  • National Sex Offender Search A simple yet vital search that all healthcare facilities should conduct on their employees, this service runs a name check against 49 registries* to alert employers if their potential new hire is a registered sex offender. If we find a potential hit on a registry, we do more research to confirm the case matches the candidate and verify where the case took place and other essential details.  All major PII confirmed sex crimes will be reported. Sex offender searches are especially crucial for practices that work with at-risk populations such as children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.
    *Nevada does not allow sex offender registration to be used in employment decisions, so InfoMart does not include this registry on consumer reports.
  • Employment History & Education Verification Verifications are a crucial part of healthcare background checks. At InfoMart, our dedicated, FCRA-certified verification specialists use the information provided by applicants to run a reference check and validate any credentials and experience claims made on resumes. The verification process ensures that you hire qualified and honest employees you trust to take care of patients.
  • Professional Licenses Another quick search that saves healthcare employers from future headaches is a professional license search. Your dedicated background check specialist goes directly to licensing boards to verify that applicants have received all the necessary licenses and accreditations to provide excellent patient care.
  • Excluded Individuals/Entities The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) maintains an up-to-date database of individuals and entities in the healthcare field barred from participating in federally funded healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid. The reasons for barring people can vary, but persons on this list are often considered risky hires.
  • Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS®) A FACIS® search checks 800+ sources across the United States for healthcare employees who have received disciplinary action from former employers. Disciplinary actions range from simple letters of reprimand to full exclusions. Ensuring a FACIS® check is a part of your hospital’s background check policy prevents you from hiring employees that could endanger patients and cause future malpractice or compliance problems.
  • Drug Testing Background check requirements for healthcare workers often include drug testing because patients’ safety depends on the abilities of their providers. Plus, most healthcare workers  have access to some of the most potent drugs on the market. Incorporating pre-employment drug testing and post-hire screening into your healthcare background check strategy keeps patients safe and prevents potential drug diversion.
  • Identity Verification Check Running a quick identity verification on candidates saves your organization from untrustworthy candidates’ bait-and-switch tactics. Our technology will quickly verify candidates’ identity documents.

Can You Do Background Checks Yourself?

Security experts recommend that healthcare facilities use trusted, third-party background screening vendors to conduct background checks. Each state has different, ever-evolving legal requirements for employees in the healthcare industry. Additionally, you must check a candidate’s records on a local, state, and federal level and contact licensing boards, schools, and previous employers, which takes a lot of time and care if you choose to do background checks yourself. As a result,  complying with current standards and getting the whole story on candidates during the hiring process often requires professional guidance.

 

Get the Whole Story

Leaders in the healthcare industry have high expectations for their employees. However, regulations change constantly, which often makes it challenging to find the best employees for your organization. Get the Whole Story on candidates with a reputable background check company. At InfoMart, we understand that healthcare leaders have a lot on their plates. That’s why our team of professionally trained FCRA-certified experts will provide the accurate and compliant background checks you need to make the best hiring decisions. To discover how we can tailor our screening services to your healthcare company’s needs, reach out to an InfoMart sales representative.

I would love to hear from you and connect; add me on LinkedIn to keep in touch.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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