Meeting the Healthcare Field’s Hiring Requirements with Background Checks 14 Nov 2018


The healthcare industry cares for the health, safety, and privacy of its patients. So, healthcare companies have to make sure that their employees protect those patients. If not, companies can be held accountable even when employees’ actions violate company policy. For example, Walgreens was fined $1.44 million when a pharmacist inappropriately accessed a patient’s file. Although the pharmacist’s actions violated company policy, the court still held Walgreens responsible.

Because healthcare companies are being held accountable for their employees’ actions, it’s crucial you start by hiring the best employees. How can healthcare employers find dependable, low-risk employees and avoid lawsuits?

Background checks ensure that the candidate you hire has a clean history and all the right qualifications for the job. Using the proper background checks can help you protect your patients and your business.

In this article, we’ll consider three questions about background checks. Why are background checks essential in the healthcare field? What background checks are best for the healthcare industry? And, how can you run a background check legally?

Why the Healthcare Industry Needs Background Checks

As in Walgreens’ case, employee mistakes can hurt your company’s bottom line. In 2017, businesses spent almost $3.9 billion in medical malpractice payouts, and the cost of malpractice lawsuits is going up. Running a background check on new hires can help you avoid candidates with a history of malpractice or other serious mistakes.

Malpractice isn’t the only problem. Employees can cause harm by talking about patients within earshot of other patients. One state attorney general’s office had to pay a monetary settlement when two hospital employees discussed the HIV/AIDS status of patients in a public area. A background check can ensure that all aspects of a potential hire’s record are exemplary.

Healthcare workers can also harm patients by abusing their role as caretaker. Positions with access to children and vulnerable adults could attract people with bad intentions. Hiring the wrong person would put these vulnerable patients at risk. Running background checks focused on safety can protect them.

Background checks are essential to protect your patients and your business. But, which background checks are best for the healthcare industry?

What Background Checks Are Needed for the Healthcare Industry

Numerous background checks exist to address the specific concerns of healthcare. Here is a list of the most important background checks related to healthcare.

  • Identity verification check. An identity check ensures the job applicant did not lie about who they are. It also makes sure that all later background checks look into the right person.
  • Criminal records search. A criminal records search looks into any criminal convictions, such as assault or medical malpractice. It finds any conviction that indicates patients would not be safe with this candidate.
  • Sex offender check. Any candidate who will come in contact with children or vulnerable adults should be free of a history of sexual assault or abuse. This background check will identify any registered sex offenders.
  • Employee drug screening. Because healthcare workers have easy access to prescription drugs, it’s imperative that employers know if a candidate has had any issues with drug use in the past. In addition, healthcare workers need to have a clear head so that they can make important decisions regarding the welfare of patients. A drug screening can reveal any drug use that would disqualify a job applicant from healthcare.
  • Federal exclusion search. The U.S. government maintains lists of healthcare workers barred from receiving federal funds. This search will identify candidates who would prevent your business from participating in federally-funded programs, such as Medicare.
  • Professional license verification. Many healthcare jobs require a license for legal reasons. A license verification check confirms that the job applicant has the right license. It also identifies any restrictions on their license.
  • Education verification. The majority of jobs in the healthcare field require a postsecondary degree or some technical training. Education verification ensures that the job applicant has the specific degree or training they need.
  • Employment verification. Employment verification ensures that potential healthcare workers have the experience you require. It also shows if they were fired from their previous job because of a serious mistake they made.

Now that you’ve learned what background checks to run, you need to know how to run these background checks legally.

How to Run a Background Check Legally

Employer handing background check consent form to job applicant

Multiple laws regulate how background checks can be run on job applicants. So, you need to know how these laws could affect your hiring process. Here are some guidelines to follow so you can run a background check legally.

  • Explain to the job applicant that you will be running a background check on them. List and describe the types of background checks you plan to run.
  • Get the job candidate’s consent to run a background check by having them sign a consent form. This document should be used exclusively for the background checks you will run. It must not include anything else the applicant needs to sign.
  • After you have the results of the background check, allow the job applicant to dispute the findings. There may be extenuating circumstances, or the job applicant may want to explain their side of the story.
  • Use only the findings that are relevant to the job when deciding whether to hire.
  • Use a reputable background check company. A reliable background check company knows which background checks you need for your industry. They also provide accurate results.

At Trusted Employees, we offer background check packages designed for your industry and company needs. We can help you decide what types of background checks are best for your unique hiring process. Contact us today to learn more about our industry-specific background check packages.