Healthcare Background Checks

While every organization values the health and safety of its customers and staff and wants to be sure they’re hiring the most qualified people possible, healthcare companies have to have exceptionally high standards. After all, their patients’ lives are quite literally in the hands of their employees.

And it’s not just patient safety at stake. Healthcare employees may also have access to sensitive personal data, prescription drugs, and organizational funds. Bad hiring decisions can result in danger to other staff members as well as malpractice lawsuits, fraud, and government penalties levied against the organization itself.

Healthcare background checks protect your patients, staff, reputation, and accreditation, and play a vital role in maintaining the high standards of your organization. In this post, we’ll discuss why background checks are so important and how you can choose the right ones for your situation.

Why are healthcare background checks important?

While every company wants to keep its customers and staff safe, healthcare companies have the added responsibility of protecting patients who may be physically, mentally, or emotionally vulnerable. As such, they come under closer scrutiny and fall under more government regulations than companies in many other industries.

Federal law, specifically the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), requires background checks for “employees who provide direct care.” Healthcare organizations also need to be aware of the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE), a database managed by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The LEIE consists of healthcare providers who have been convicted of fraud, patient abuse or neglect, or other serious offenses. Organizations that hire someone on it may be subject to civil penalties and prevented from participating in federally funded programs such as Medicare.

States impose their own requirements. Most, but not all, states have laws requiring background checks for employees of home health agencies, for example.

When it comes to healthcare, background screenings aren’t a one-and-done process. Ongoing, regular screenings ensure that the people currently employed with your organization haven’t started using drugs or been convicted of a crime since you hired them and still hold the licenses necessary to practice in their area of medicine. Additionally, any organizations that bill Medicare or Medicaid are required to run ongoing checks to ensure that all employees (not just medical professionals) aren’t listed on the federal exclusion list.

What is included in a healthcare background check?

The following are some of the most common types of checks conducted on job candidates who are applying for healthcare-related positions. Depending on your candidate’s job duties, additional checks may be advisable.

SSN (social security number) trace

This service finds all names and addresses associated with a candidate’s social security number. This enables searches to be conducted for all names and in all jurisdictions that are relevant to a particular candidate.

National criminal search

This search will let you know if your candidate has been convicted of any crimes, such as assault or medical malpractice, that could pose potential risks for your patients or staff.

National sex offender registry search

It goes without saying that vulnerable patients and especially children need protection from sexual predators. This search will ensure that your candidate has no known history of sexual assault or abuse.

Professional licensing verification

Healthcare, maybe more than any other industry, relies on licensing as a means to assess an employee’s qualifications.  A license verification confirms that your candidate has a valid license (or licenses) for their position, field, and region and is eligible to work.

Education verification

Specific educational degrees or technical training are required for most clinical positions. This check verifies that your candidate attended and graduated from the institutions they claim, the dates they attended, their area of study, and the type of degree received.

Employment verification

This screening ensures that your candidate has the job experience they claim to have and will let you know if they were fired from a previous job for making a serious mistake.

Drug screening

Drug screening is vital in a work environment in which employees may need to make life-saving decisions or be responsible for a patient’s physical care or transportation. It’s also important as employees may have direct access to prescription drugs.

Federal exclusion search

This search ensures your candidate isn’t on the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE), which consists of providers who have been convicted of fraud, patient abuse or neglect, or other serious offenses.

What do companies & hospitals look for?

It’s a competitive job market. A slow hiring process may result in your candidate being offered a position with another company, and a process that is difficult, demeaning, or inconvenient for a candidate may give them the wrong impression of your company overall.

That’s why it’s important to find a screening company that makes the process convenient for candidates and treats them with respect. The faster they can fill out their forms and submit their information, the sooner you can get the results you need to make your hiring decisions.

When selecting a background check provider, organizations look for one that can balance thorough, accurate reporting with timely turnaround.

How long does the process take?

The majority of background checks can be completed within 2–5 business days, although comprehensive healthcare background checks may take a little longer due to the need to verify a significant amount of data.

You can help expedite the process by communicating clearly with your candidate. Let them know that mistakes and omissions in their information can cause delays and that the sooner they sign their consent forms and submit their information, the sooner you’ll have the information you need to make a hiring decision.

It’s also helpful to work with a screening company that can integrate its background check workflow with your applicant tracking or human resource information system. This avoids unnecessary paperwork and duplicate forms that can slow things down.

How to run healthcare background checks for your company

The easiest way to ensure that you’re in compliance with state and federal regulations, running the correct checks for your job position, and getting accurate reports is to partner with a qualified screening company.

At EagleScreen, we make it easy for you. We’ll customize a package for your specific screening requirements, guide you through the complex regulatory landscape, integrate with your applicant tracking system, and provide you with detailed, accurate reports. Ready to get started? Contact us today.

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