Healthcare is a high-stakes industry with workers responsible for life-or-death decisions, sensitive personal information, and potent prescription drugs. A comprehensive healthcare background check includes a national sex offender search, criminal history reports, professional license verification, and reference checks.

Other checks may be relevant for specific roles based on work environment and employee responsibility. For example, a driving record check is essential for healthcare workers who drive patients.

Professional License Verification

Healthcare is a high-stakes industry that requires a certain level of expertise, discretion, judgment, and attention to detail. The best healthcare professionals dedicate extensive schooling and early career development to building these skills. Hospitals and other healthcare employers must thoroughly do background check for healthcare workers before hiring them to ensure that all of these qualities are in place. Comprehensive background checks that include professional license verification, criminal history searches, national sex offender searches, and drug screenings ensure that the people working with patients are trustworthy and capable.

While it is easy to understand why a malpractice lawsuit or the loss of human life is the most severe risk that healthcare companies face, even an honest mistake from a healthcare worker can have devastating effects. For example, a nurse may accidentally miscalculate a dosage, which could lead to lifelong complications or death. A pharmacist who steals prescription drugs to sell or abuse them can cause serious harm, including addiction and overdoses.

While the requirements, regulations, and laws at all levels of government are constantly changing, healthcare organizations must adhere to them and conduct thorough background checks on all candidates. It will prevent them from hiring someone with a violent criminal record or who has been convicted of a fraud-related crime such as embezzlement, theft, or forgery. Likewise, credit history checks, motor vehicle records checks, and other searches that might not be relevant for the average doctor or nurse make sense for roles like an ambulance driver or hospital administrator who will have access to financial resources.

Reference Checks

Healthcare background checks aren’t just for doctors and nurses. Everyone in a hospital or clinic, from custodians to administrative staff, should be thoroughly vetted to ensure they are trustworthy and can do their jobs well. Thorough healthcare background checks ensure that you hire employees who will value patient safety and provide compassionate care.

Healthcare screenings are often more thorough than other background checks, with assessments that evaluate metrics designed to help find the best healthcare workers for your organization. It helps identify dishonesty, poor performance, or risky behavior that can threaten patients. A thorough healthcare background check can also uncover false credentials and experience claims on resumes.

In addition to the standard criminal records check, healthcare background checks often include a national sex offender search. Since healthcare workers frequently contact vulnerable populations, these searches are essential to limit the potential for abuse.

Drug screenings are also essential to healthcare background checks, as most professionals can access prescription drugs. A drug screen can help identify substance abuse issues before they become problematic.

Drug Screenings

Healthcare workers have much to do and often work with vulnerable patients. A single mistake from a nurse or pharmacist can have grave consequences. These employees can access private patient information, prescription pharmaceuticals, and more. Healthcare employers must ensure they hire people with clean backgrounds, valid professional licenses, and an overall solid reputation. Background checks ensure that this is the case.

Using background checks to verify credentials, running a multi-jurisdictional criminal records search, national sex offender registry searches, social security number validation or identity verification, and motor vehicle reports are critical for any company, especially for healthcare companies. Background checks can prevent healthcare mishaps resulting in lawsuits, malpractice claims, lost profits, and a worst-case scenario – loss of human lives.

Pre-employment drug screenings are also essential for healthcare workers. Due to the power imbalance in many doctor-patient relationships, sexual abuse is more common in medical workplaces. In addition, doctors and nurses have easy access to prescription drugs and are more likely to be addicted to them. A complete drug screen is necessary for medical workplaces, including a toxicology report that tests for alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine (angel dust or PCP), and THC. The information will also identify any previous positive results from the last drug screens, which can be a deal-breaker in the medical profession.

Federal Exclusion Search

Healthcare facilities and staff, from doctors to custodians, must place the highest value on patient safety. Professional background checks ensure that your employees share that same commitment to patients by verifying credentials and weeding out false information.

A particular concern for hospitals is ensuring that their employees aren’t excluded from federal healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Healthcare organizations are prohibited from hiring excluded individuals or engaging in other activities with them, such as paying for procedures or purchasing items from such individuals. A nationwide exclusion search identifies individuals and entities sanctioned by the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG). OIG maintains a database of exclusions called the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE), and screening against it reduces legal exposure.

While some background checks don’t make sense for every hospital or medical office role, such as a motor vehicle record check for ambulance drivers, those that do are of the utmost importance. Performing thorough checks ensures that you’re not employing someone with a criminal record for which they haven’t disclosed, avoiding negligent hiring lawsuits. Likewise, a credit history check might not make sense for most jobs in the healthcare industry but is critical for healthcare workers with access to financial records and resources, such as hospital administrators.


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