Reviewing Vendor Background Checks at United Health Group

UnitedHealth Group is one of the largest companies in the United States today. Employing over 350,000 people, UHG consists of two services under one umbrella. The first is UnitedHealthcare, an insurer and benefits provider. The second is Optum, which uses technology to enhance care services. UHG may partner with third-party suppliers and other businesses to pursue quality care outcomes for patients. Does UHG require vendor background checks for these partners?

A vendor background check is a vetting process applied to teams outside the primary company. UHG does not hire a supplier’s employees or run their onboarding process. Instead, to check a vendor, they set a series of standards that partners must abide by under contract. For businesses interested in working with UnitedHealth Group, it’s critical to understand these requirements. Here’s our dive into what healthcare sector vendors should expect.

What do suppliers or vendors mean to United Health Group?

UHG may use third-party suppliers or vendors for many reasons. Some of these partner companies provide services directly to UHG employees. Others provide essential supplies for offices. Others may work directly to supply goods or services to customers of UHG’s different branches. In every case, these groups operate for and on behalf of UnitedHealth Group. However, they are not formally a part of the same business group.

Companies such as UHG may institute vendor background check requirements as a matter of safety. Vendor employees may spend time working directly on UHG office campuses. They may also interact with members of the public. If a supplier working for UHG commits acts of wrongdoing, some blame may fall onto the primary company. For such reasons, United Health Group partners must background check employees to uphold specific standards.

UnitedHealth Group’s online policy documents speak mostly to situations involving partnerships with other companies. An official “Code of Conduct” lays out many guidelines. Many of these are matters of best practices or compliance. For example, the company expects its vendors to avoid using forced or underage labor. Most businesses will have similar expectations for suppliers. What about other elements, such as screening employees?

Exploring UnitedHealth Group’s requirements for suppliers

The UnitedHealth Group code of conduct for suppliers does not speak directly to elements such as background screening. UHG does not extend its control to the hiring policies of partner businesses. However, it does expect suppliers to abide by the law and other best practices. For example, suppliers cannot engage in discriminatory conduct when hiring or interacting with employees. You must also provide fair and equal treatment throughout recruitment and hiring.

Suppliers must create a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. They must also make all reasonable efforts to protect UHG’s assets and intellectual properties. UHG reserves the right to request suppliers for written proof of their efforts to comply with the code of conduct. Working with a background screening company helps you create a paper trail.

While there is nothing in the document about background checks specifically, we can read between the lines. A pre-employment screening process is critical to identify experienced and talented individuals. It is also vital to avoid risky hires that could appear as negligence in the future. For suppliers working with UHG, careful hiring is essential for Code of Conduct compliance.

Building a background check policy for safer workplaces

Without specific directions for United Health Group vendor background checks, employers should stick to best practices. Follow the same procedures for due diligence you would usually use. A thorough background check procedure can help produce job candidates better suited to your needs. Here are some of the tools your business should rely upon when seeking to build supplier relationships.

  • Use a criminal background check process. Check county and state criminal records. Use a multi-jurisdictional search to cast a wide net. Seek to identify red flags that might make someone too risky to hire for working in healthcare.

  • Consider whether you will drug test applicants and employees. Employers have rights to promote drug-free workplaces. When your employees may be around controlled substances in healthcare, drug testing is a wise choice.

  • Verify that individuals aren’t on abuse or sex offender registries. Related charges should appear on criminal background checks. Take care to avoid the risks of exposing vulnerable populations to offenders.

  • Confirm professional licenses and qualifications where needed. You may provide services to UHG that require specific healthcare certifications or licenses. Verify that all applicants have the relevant experience and certification.

  • Consult driving records as required. If your vendor role involves transporting products to UHG locations, you may need to order an MVR report on prospective drivers. Review Department of Transportation guidelines where relevant.

A comprehensive background check policy provides the most coverage for employers who wish to adhere to UHG’s Code of Conduct.

Aligning with the law when screening as a supplier  

Always follow federal and state laws when using background checks as a vendor. Abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and disclose your intent to use background checks. Obtain applicant consent before ordering any checks. Be aware of Ban the Box rules that may delay your ordering a background check. Build a hiring process that prioritizes fairness and remember that UHG does not tolerate vendor discrimination.

Streamlining your vendor background check process

At, we’ve built tools specifically for businesses acting as vendors. Screening all your applicants is essential for selecting employees that can help fulfill your mission. Speed up your hiring process with robust screening services such as VendorSAFE. This solution simplifies ordering thorough criminal history reports on any job applicant.

Obtain reports quickly and with fewer delays. See the most important details and potential red flags in our logical reports. Evaluate candidates in full view of the facts. With these steps, you can position your business to engage with UHG as a trusted supplier. Learn more about how you can get started with vendor background checks today.


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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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