Healthcare Background Checks: A Primer

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

January 22 2015

Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry and is often subject to federal or state-mandated changes. Because of this fluidity, it is key for healthcare professionals to not only be well-trained to provide a high level of care for their patients, but also to be responsible and law-abiding employees.

These high standards have led to a need for healthcare background checks to be implemented before hiring any job seeker into a healthcare facility, be it a hospital, doctor’s office, home health care facility or other practice. Reports on an applicant’s background and work history can help determine whether you are investing in a quality employee or setting yourself up for a future malpractice suit.




Why Is a Background Check Needed for Healthcare Workers?


A comprehensive background check might seem like overkill, but it can not only help ensure that you are hiring the best candidate for the position, but also give you some indication of future performance.


An inattentive employee may pose a risk to your health care facility, so a criminal history check and a reference check can indicate poor previous performance or inappropriate behavior.


Healthcare employees on every level are also expected to maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations. By verifying that your potential employee has a clean record, you will help reduce the risk of a negligent hire and future compliance issues.


What’s Included in a Healthcare Background Check?


A healthcare-specific background check differs from a standard investigation in several ways. These checks are often more thorough, and frequently include some of the following:


National Criminal Search. This taps the resources of a comprehensive, private criminal history database to provide quick results at an affordable price. InfoMart’s National Criminal Search verifies hits directly at the source, making it the most compliant national criminal database available. This service is standard in many industries, such as healthcare and transportation.


National Sex Offender Search. This is a simple, yet very important, search that all healthcare facilities should conduct on their employees. The search ensures that applicants haven’t been required to register as a sex offender, and this is particularly crucial for practices that work with at-risk populations such as children and disabled persons.


Employment History & Education Verification. These are both crucial steps in any healthcare background check. Analysts use information provided by the applicant to confirm that they have the credentials and experience they claim to. This verifications process ensures that only qualified employees are working with patients.


Professional Licenses. Another quick search that can save healthcare employers future headaches is a professional license search. Searchers go directly to the licensing boards to verify that an applicant has received all the necessary licenses and accreditations.


Excluded Individuals/Entities. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) maintains an up-to-date database of individuals and entities in the healthcare field that are barred from participating in any federally funded healthcare programs. Reasons for ending up on this list can vary from case to case, but persons on this list are often considered to be risky hires.


Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS®). A FACIS® search checks over 800 sources across the United States to provide data on healthcare employees who have been disciplined in the past by another healthcare organization. The results of this search can include letters of reprimand from superiors to full exclusions. Running a FACIS® check on all healthcare applicants can steer you away from employees that could cause future malpractice or compliance issues.


Drug Testing. Healthcare workers often have access to some of the most potent drugs on the market. Pre-employment drug testing ensures your patients’ safety and random post-hire screening can deter potential drug diversion.




How is a Healthcare Background Check Run?


Each state has clear-cut requirements for employees in the healthcare industry.  As a result, ensuring that new hires comply with all current standards can be a difficult process. To run a healthcare background check, you need to gain access to an applicant’s criminal records. These are considered public documents and can be obtained by contacting law enforcement offices directly.


However, to get the whole story, you would need to visit multiple county and state offices, as well as contact a federal database. This can be costly, time-consuming, and confusing. It is not recommended the healthcare facilities attempt to run their own background checks on candidates.


High Expectations


There are high expectations placed upon any person who works in the healthcare industry, which can make hiring a new employee a difficult procedure. Retaining the services of a reputable background check company is a simple way to ensure accuracy, coverage, and compliance. Background check vendors such as InfoMart employ trained analysts, searchers, and other experts to provide an accurate and compliant background check at a quick turnaround time. Get the Whole Story on the Healthcare Industry


Do you know the statistics behind crime in the healthcare industry? We’ve pulled from our internal data to give you the information you need. Download our whitepaper here.

Get the Whole Story with InfoMart’s Healthcare Industry Trends Report

Do you know:

  • Healthcare has one of the highest rates of fraud?
  • What percent of applicants have a criminal history?
  • How hit rates have changed over the past ten years?

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

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, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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