A Comprehensive Guide to Background Checks in Healthcare

OIG Background Check: A Complete Guide

A background check is more than just a standard job screening. Healthcare workers have the power to impact patients’ lives directly, and errors or abuse can be catastrophic for a hospital or healthcare entity.

A background check for healthcare is typically a thorough investigation that includes searching public records, credit reports, and civil court documents.

Verify Credentials and Licenses

Healthcare is a high-stakes industry that demands skill, experience, discretion, judgment, and ethical decision-making. Hospitals need the assurance that they hire people who will care for patients competently and safely. A background check is a key part of this vetting process.

Criminal records, as are credentials and licenses, are a piece of the vetting puzzle. The fact is that a person with a medical license may be able to work in the field even if they have a felony record, so hospitals must take special care to check these credentials.

Primary source verification services can search thousands of databases and courts, verify professional licensure, and check for red flags like disciplinary actions. Using these services can help prevent a physician from practicing medicine with invalid credentials or an expired license, which could cause real harm to patients. Most medical facilities rely on these services to check for credentials at hire and renewal time. This gives them the longevity needed to ensure patient safety.

Verify Employment History

Unlike other types of employees, healthcare workers have access to drugs and medications, which can lead to serious consequences for patients and coworkers if they are misused. This makes drug screening an essential part of the background check process for healthcare organizations.

Healthcare employers can conduct a level 2 background check to learn more about an applicant’s financial and criminal history, which can help them avoid hiring individuals with a history of fraud and abuse. This type of investigation may include a social security trace to determine if an applicant uses any aliases or has changed their name.

Many applicants lie about their employment history or educational attainment on job applications and resumes. Including an education and employment verification in your background check can quickly identify omissions or lies, so you can be confident that the person you hire is who they say they are. You can also run a federal exclusion search to identify candidates with criminal convictions that would prevent them from working in the healthcare industry or receiving funding through programs like Medicare.

Verify Education

Healthcare facilities and professionals work with sensitive information, including patients’ personal health details. A background check helps ensure that employees do not compromise this sensitive data with a history of cybercrime, embezzlement, fraud, or identity theft.

Background checks aren’t just for doctors and nurses; they also cover all hospital or healthcare office employees. Whether they are administrative assistants, custodians, or janitors, each one of these workers should be vetted thoroughly to ensure that their actions place patient safety and privacy at the forefront.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to lie about their credentials or employment history. Performing an education verification check can help identify candidates who may have omitted schools or falsely claimed to have certain qualifications. This is especially important when hiring for healthcare positions, where a falsified credential could result in malpractice claims and put patients at risk of harm. A verification check can validate an applicant’s educational achievement and provide details such as the institution where they attended, the date of graduation, and the type of degree received.

Verify Criminal Record

As a highly regulated industry, healthcare organizations must be vigilant in their screening processes. Failure to properly vet staff members can lead to various problems, including patient harm and financial exploitation. This is why it’s so important for hospitals to conduct background checks on all employees and contractors before they’re hired. These checks will include a criminal record check and credit, employment, and professional licensing history verifications.

The scope of these checks can vary, depending on the position and what information the employer wants to explore. But typically, employers in this industry will use a level 2 background investigation that covers criminal records at the federal, state, and county levels. It will also cover disciplinary records, sex offender status, and more.

Background checks aren’t just for doctors and nurses; they’re for everyone who works in a hospital or medical office, from administrative assistants to custodians. Everyone should be vetted to ensure they’re not a risk to patients, staff, or the general public. To learn more about how a background check can help you find the best candidate for your next healthcare job, click here.

Verify References

Healthcare is a high-stakes industry that requires a lot of skill, experience, discretion, judgment, and ethical decision-making. Hospitals and other healthcare employers want to be certain that the people they hire can be trusted to care for their patients and employees, so they conduct thorough background checks as part of their hiring process.

Medical professional background checks include more than just criminal history searches. They also look into a candidate’s professional license status to ensure they are licensed to work in the healthcare industry. These checks check for any restrictions or limitations on the licenses candidates claim to have, allowing hospitals and other healthcare companies to avoid hiring unqualified applicants.

Besides professional licensing, background checks also examine the candidates’ education and employment histories. Many job applicants lie about these details on resumes and applications; background checks help weed out this false information. Alias checks are also a standard part of healthcare background checks, which can help identify individuals using aliases that could skew criminal background searches and other verification processes.

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