Background Check Requirements For Healthcare Employment


Whether working at a hospital or a private healthcare practice, healthcare employees deal with patients’ sensitive information. It makes background checks more thorough than for other industries. Background checks can reveal aliases, which will broaden criminal searches, and education and employment verifications can catch candidates who have misreported credentials. Sanctions checks also help prevent hospitals and other healthcare entities from employing individuals or organizations barred from participating in federal healthcare programs.

Criminal History Checks

Whether working at a doctor’s office, hospital or therapist’s home, healthcare workers have direct contact with patients. A criminal history check is essential to any healthcare background screening policy. A national illegal search taps into comprehensive databases to find criminal records on a nationwide basis. It also checks local offender registries in states where the applicant has lived or worked. Healthcare HR managers often add a statewide or county search to the national search to get complete results that align with their state’s law regarding how far back criminal records can be reported. The same goes for a sex offender search, which is critical for candidates who work with vulnerable populations, like children and the elderly. This search identifies any registered sex offenders and can save your company from costly malpractice lawsuits if an employee is sued due to negligence.

Drug screening is another essential component of any background check for healthcare. Your patients depend on your team members to be clear-minded and free of substance abuse problems, so a comprehensive drug test should be included in any healthcare background check policy. This screening is usually combined with verifications of education, employment and professional credentials to ensure that your candidate’s claims are accurate and up-to-date. Finally, a federal exclusion search prevents you from hiring healthcare workers disqualified from receiving federal monies, which is important to avoid violating healthcare compliance regulations.

Drug Screenings

Drug screenings are a necessary component of any healthcare background check. Since many medical workers have easy access to powerful prescription drugs, employers need to know if their employees have a history of drug use. Moreover, many healthcare jobs are safety-sensitive, meaning that employees with a drug-related record can create dangerous situations for patients. Urine testing, or urinalysis, is the most common drug test. It checks samples for metabolites and the trace residues left behind by previous drug usage. It is the most reliable method for detecting current drug use. It can detect the presence of some types of illegal drugs and most commonly abused prescription medications. Employers can also conduct more in-depth tests to identify other forms of substance abuse, including a hair test or an alcohol breathalyzer. In addition, they can search federal exclusion lists to identify candidates barred from working in certain safety and security-sensitive jobs. Finally, healthcare background checks often include identity verification to ensure that the person undergoing a background check is the same individual as the one who applied for the job. It can be especially important for healthcare, where trust is at the heart of patient-provider relationships.

Education and Employment Verifications

Whether they work as nurses, doctors, or home health aides, healthcare workers tend to the most vulnerable people. Consequently, it’s crucial that healthcare facilities use background checks focused on safety to help ensure the best outcomes for patients. A national criminal search is a standard part of any healthcare background check. It checks local, state, and federal records to locate any arrests or convictions on a candidate’s record. This search also examines sex offender registries. Healthcare companies must run this search because several criminal offenses—including fraud, patient abuse or neglect, theft, and certain sexual crimes—are considered disqualifiers for medical jobs. An identity verification check is another standard part of a healthcare background check. It confirms that a job applicant is who they say they are to reduce the risk of false information being provided on applications and resumes. It also helps ensure that later background checks focus on the correct individual. Healthcare facilities should also run a credentials verification search to ensure applicants have the qualifications they claim on their resumes. This search verifies that healthcare employees have the appropriate licensing and certifications to perform their job functions. Finally, a federal exclusion search allows healthcare companies to identify candidates barred from receiving federal monies for healthcare services.

Reference Checks

Many healthcare employers are more thorough than other employers in conducting reference checks. These references assess the candidate’s ability, character, and work ethic. It is a valuable part of the screening process and is generally conducted near the end of the selection process once the field has been narrowed to a few candidates. Unlike written letters of reference, most references are interviewed over the phone to save time and provide more candid responses. Since healthcare workers have access to patient’s personal information, a background check for these individuals often includes a search of the federal sex offender registry. It is a vital check because it identifies any healthcare employees convicted of sex crimes, which could devastate the medical profession and patients. This search also identifies those excluded from Medicare and Medicaid contracts, which could result in fines or a loss of revenue for a healthcare organization.

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