In the healthcare industry, choosing the right applicant is literally a matter of life or death. Hospitals and practices that mistakenly hire unqualified nurses, unlicensed doctors, or unsafe medical assistants risk reputation-ruining lawsuits, damaging fines, and even their patients’ lives. While laws in most states require healthcare employers to conduct pre-employment screening on new hires who will have patient contact, haphazard background check practices—like the ones listed below—are still common.
Inadequate Drug Screening – According to one employment background check company, only 79 percent of healthcare employers bother to test potential employees for illegal drug use. Studies have shown that drug users miss more work, are more prone to accidents, and are less productive than those who do not use drugs. Additionally, impaired employees increase a facility’s risk of malpractice claims.
Inadequate Criminal History Search – Criminal records reporting is complex, and healthcare organizations that try to conduct background checks on their own risk missing data on the prior arrests and convictions of applicants. Different crimes are prosecuted in different courts, and healthcare workers often move around, so a thorough criminal history search must include federal court records as well as county court records for every address provided.
Inadequate Medical Sanction Screening – According to one employment screening service, 42 percent of healthcare organizations search only the Office of the Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (OIG LEIE) when conducting pre-employment screening. Because no single list aggregates all sanction information, relying on one source is risky. Additionally, ongoing monitoring—at minimum annually—is advised if an organization wishes to comply with OIG guidelines.
Inadequate Extended Workforce Screening – The results of one survey conducted by a background check company revealed only 47 percent of healthcare organizations screen volunteers and only 13 percent screen vendors. Failing to screen these individuals using the same methods used to screen permanent employees can expose hospitals, practices and residential care facilities to additional risk.
If you identify any of these haphazard practices within your own pre-employment screening procedures, you could be putting your organization, staff and patients at risk. For maximum protection of your bottom line and reputation, consider consulting with an employment background check company.