Conducting Background Checks for Healthcare Workers

Hospitals are confronting an increased need to conduct background checks as part of their employment screening programs. As institutions where people in ill health are vulnerable and where drugs and sensitive records are accessible, there is pressing mandate to be sure that any healthcare employees pass the requisite standards to work in a facility. While this conforms with the public level of expectation, the reality is often not the case. In fact, many healthcare workers who have been disciplined and even imprisoned are working in facilities, having moved from one state to another to avoid detection, or by either lying or failing to undergo more rigorous employment screening.

Some of the healthcare staffing agencies may be to blame as, in order to get their people hired, their employment screening programs are shoddy at best. Some conduct the most minimal background checks, if they conduct any at all. Some staffing groups don't even bother conducting the healthcare sanctions background search, or the OIG/GSA. Many discrepancies, some being more outrageous than others, were reported on the joint study by Pro Publica and the Los Angeles Times. The study and subsequent articles reported how staffing groups failed to conduct the appropriate background checks and that convicted felons, employees with serious substance abuse issues were working in healthcare facilities. There are healthcare workers employed at hospitals and other healthcare facilities that have reported disciplinary action for abusing the elderly and children.

So given all the dire reports, it was refreshing to read this article in the Hospitalist, detailing the necessity and the how to's of background checks in relation to hiring healthcare workers. The article , written by Lisa Ryan, is simply entitled Background Checks. It is comprehensive in explaining the different types of background searches and how they should be incorporated into an employment screening program. Honestly, I read a great many articles on background checks and employment screening and this is one of the more thoroughly researched. Ryan writes with neither rancor or a personal agenda, much of which I am used to seeing in different pieces on the subject. Ryan details all the different aspects and provides a Background Checks Fundamental section at the bottom of the article.

For human resources personnel in the healthcare industry, especially, it is not only worth reading but worth bookmarking for future reference. Reality being what it is, there is both the universal reason and the personal incentive for conducting background checks for healthcare employees. Sooner or later, we will all need the services of a healthcare facility. Best to know the people working there will more inclined to treat us as patients and not victims.

Check them out before you hire.

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