With healthcare staffing more challenging than ever, a speedy hire has never been more critical. During the COVID-19 pandemic, almost one in five healthcare workers quit their jobs. When you find a good candidate, you want to lock it down as soon as possible, but never skimp on the background check. Healthcare workers deal with sensitive information and deal with patients in high-pressure situations. Red flags can have significant consequences – for your patients and your company.
Healthcare background checks are special background checks tailored to the needs of the healthcare industry. Rather than a routine criminal history and employment check, these background checks dive deeper into a candidate’s past to ensure you’re hiring a trustworthy employee capable of handling the responsibilities a healthcare job entails.
Below, we’ll provide a brief checklist of what to include on a healthcare background check in 2022.
Healthcare Background Checks: Basic Requirements
National Criminal Check
These are standard for any background check and are vital to a healthcare background check. National criminal checks tap into databases to locate criminal records on a national level and examine offender registries from all 50 states. While there are some things a standard background check can miss (more on that below), always include a national criminal check when screening prospective healthcare employees.
National Sex Offender Search
National sex offender searches pull data from all 50 states to determine whether a potential employee has ever been criminally charged or convicted of a sex crime. As healthcare professionals are often in vulnerable situations with employees, this is a step you should never skip.
You do not want to hire someone using someone else’s identity, especially not in a field where competency hinges on specific credentials. An identity verification check ensures all other background checks will be accurate by confirming an individual is who they say they are.
By some estimates, 10 to 12% of physicians have a substance abuse disorder. Drug use on the job could have serious, even deadly, consequences for patients. Make sure you run a routine drug screening as part of your background check to ensure new hires aren’t using illicit substances.
Employment, Education, & Certification Verification
The last thing you want to do is hire a doctor without a medical license or a nurse who never finished her degree. This could put patients in danger and result in legal action against your company. Under no circumstances should a healthcare background check not to take extra steps to verify employment, education, or certification.
Healthcare Background Checks: Recommended Requirements
An Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) search identifies whether or not an individual or organization has been involved in any transactions monitored by the OFAC, a division of the US Department of Treasury. If you do business with someone who’s on an OFAC watch list, you risk fines, penalties, and a loss of reputation. When hiring for high-up jobs in healthcare, it is highly recommended that you order an OFAC Search.
Civil Court Check
As we mentioned earlier, a national criminal check is a good start, but it may not pick up on everything. A civil court check looks into non-criminal lawsuits, judgments, and claims. These can say a lot about a candidate’s character. Restraining orders, liability suits, sexual harassment claims, and more may go entirely undetected in a routine background check.
Social Media Screening
A social media screening is crucial these days. Vaccination status and adherence to mask mandates are vital to your patient’s safety. There have been many stories of healthcare professionals going viral online for refusing to comply in recent history. If you want to ensure anyone you hire hasn’t taken undue risks throughout the pandemic, their social media profiles will tell you a lot.
A motor vehicle report (MVR) and DMV search reveal everything from DUIs to minor traffic violations. While this type of check is typically reserved for professions where you’ll be driving a lot, it’s not a bad idea to conduct one as part of a healthcare background check. Circling back to the issue of substance abuse in healthcare, an MVR search could detect DUIs. Also, at-home care workers frequently drive a lot for work, so it’s not a bad idea to ensure they’re safe drivers.
The Bottom Line
When hiring healthcare workers, it’s essential to be extra vigorous with background check requirements. You need to get as complete a picture of a candidate as possible to ensure your patient’s safety and your business’s reputation. While it is tempting to hire fast – especially if you’re short-staffed – try to think long term, even under extreme circumstances. A bad hire could cause catastrophic consequences in a medical setting, so make sure your background check takes as deep a dive as possible into a candidate’s history.
At AccuSourceHR, we combine automation with a human touch where and when needed to provide quick, highly-accurate background checks. If you need help with your healthcare background checks, reach out here, and someone will be in touch shortly.