Hospital background checks are an important step for keeping patients safe from dangerous, incompetent, or unqualified doctors and nurses. Surprisingly, there is no federal law that requires hospitals to conduct background checks on all staff members. However, due to the massive expense of medical malpractice lawsuits and legal problems related to negligent hiring, almost all hospitals follow stringent healthcare background check procedures.
To prevent legal risk, protect human life, and preserve branding and reputation, hospitals will typically implement a mix of the following background checks.
- Criminal history screenings: Hospitals want to weed out candidates who might pose a direct threat to their patients. As a result, violent crimes and sex offenses are typically the top areas of concern when it comes to the criminal history section of a hospital background check. However, hospitals also want to make sure that their hires won’t steal from patients or the hospital itself. Crimes like theft, embezzlement, and fraud are red flags, as are past issues with drugs.
- Drug screenings: In recent years, several hospitals have had difficulty with doctors stealing narcotics or other drugs from hospital storerooms or directly from patients. By looking for issues with drug abuse—both via criminal history screenings and workplace drug testing—healthcare organizations can reduce this risk.
- Civil history checks: If a healthcare practitioner has ever been sued for malpractice or misconduct, those issues pose a liability for a hospital. Civil history checks can help hospitals to find that information.
- Verification checks: Is the doctor or nurse properly licensed with the state? Hospitals can verify this information through a professional/license certification check. Other verification checks include employment history, education, and references.
- Exclusion and sanction lists: Hospitals that have dismissed a practitioner for misconduct will usually report that person to certain industry exclusion and sanction lists, such as the GSA Excluded Parties List and the TRICARE Fraud and Abuse List.
- Sex offender registry checks: A candidate who is a registered sex offender will typically be automatically disqualified from consideration for any hospital or healthcare job. A thorough sex offender registry check is important for finding this type of red flag.
- Alias checks: Is the job candidate using his or her real name? Checking for aliases—and using those aliases to broaden criminal history searches—is a smart way to make healthcare background checks more reliable.
- Address history checks: Similar to aliases, having a candidate’s address history can help a hospital to be more deliberate about how it executes criminal background checks.
- Role-specific checks: Certain hospital background checks may not be necessary for all workers, but they are useful in certain situations. For instance, an ambulance driver position should always include a driving history check, while someone with access to finances or sensitive patient information may be expected to complete a credit history check.
At backgroundchecks.com, we offer a customizable background check solution for hospitals and healthcare organizations. We can help your hospital to implement each of the most common and critical background check strategies available. Contact us today to learn more.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments