Jack Lory

The Role of Background Checks in Hiring Qualified Healthcare Professionals


Healthcare is a high-stakes industry that requires a lot of skill, experience, discretion, and judgment. Background checks are a critical component of this industry.

For example, a hospital wouldn’t want to hire an employee listed on the national sex offender registry. In addition to criminal records checks, verifications cover education and employment history.

Criminal History Checks

Criminal records checks are standard in many industries but are especially vital for healthcare. Nurses, doctors, and home health aides work with the most vulnerable members of our society; they must be trustworthy. In addition to ensuring that new hires don’t have a criminal record, it’s also crucial for HR teams to verify the education and employment history claims made by job applicants.

A national criminal history search is the most common start to a background check, but it’s not the end. Most screening providers will then search statewide and county records where the applicant has lived and worked to catch any records that might have been missed. For instance, some states allow defendants to request that their records be sealed or deleted, and those records won’t appear on national searches. That’s why choosing a screening provider that goes the extra mile and verifies all records at the source is essential.

A professional license search is another crucial component of a healthcare background check. This search ensures that your hospital or medical practice only hires people with the qualifications to care for patients. If you hire someone with a revoked or lapsed medical license, your company could be barred from participating in federal healthcare programs. This could result in onerous fines and a loss of revenue for your company.

Education/Employment Verification

In addition to criminal records, healthcare background checks should verify candidates’ education and employment history. While this is important for many industries, it’s especially critical in healthcare, where workers are entrusted with patients and other sensitive information. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to exaggerate their employment and educational qualifications on applications or resumes. This can create severe compliance and security issues for the healthcare organization that hires them.

Education verification checks ensure that an applicant’s claimed educational credentials are legitimate by scouring the schools they attended and their records for any discrepancies. In healthcare, this is essential to ensuring that doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel have the proper training and skills needed to perform their jobs.

Employment verification checks also help identify false employment claims on a candidate’s resume or application. It’s not unusual to claim to have worked at a hospital or doctor’s office when they haven’t. Both a local healthcare recruitment agency and overseas recruitment agencies pay close attention to this.

National criminal searches are a crucial part of the background check requirements for healthcare to ensure that all the relevant local and federal databases are scanned and searched. These searches can uncover records not found with local or state searches alone. For example, they can find arrests or convictions committed outside the state where the individual resides.

Federal Exclusion Search

In healthcare, trust is essential to the relationships between patients and medical professionals. Therefore, background checks are more than just an option for the industry; they’re necessary. Sometimes, these background checks can protect the healthcare company and its team members from lawsuits or bad press.

In addition to criminal records, a healthcare background check should include a search of the federal List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE). This allows you to determine whether or not your applicant could be prohibited from receiving Medicare or other government-funded healthcare programs for reasons ranging from disciplinary action to criminal convictions.

Education and employment verifications are another essential element of a healthcare background check. These searches validate the dates of education, degrees received, employment history, terminations, and more to confirm the information provided by the candidate. They’re also critical in verifying experience claims made on resumes and applications.

Healthcare facilities require a comprehensive background check to comply with local, state, and federal regulations. The best way to do this is by partnering with a professional screening provider that understands the unique requirements and challenges that healthcare employers face. The right partner will consider state and facility-specific regulations, federal governing bodies, and ever-changing background and drug testing regulations.

Identity Verification

Healthcare employees interact with vulnerable patients, and a background check is one of the only ways to ensure that an individual does not have a criminal record that could jeopardize patient safety. Criminal convictions that might raise red flags for the medical field include drug abuse, theft, elder or patient abuse, and sexual offenses.

Additionally, many jobs in the healthcare industry require a professional license, and all applicants must have valid licenses before being hired. A professional licensing search checks for active licenses and expiration dates and verifies that a candidate uses their actual name. This is important because aliases and false identities can make it difficult for a background check to find accurate information about an individual.

A national sex offender search is another standard part of most background checks, and it’s essential for healthcare employers since their employees are in contact with vulnerable populations every day. Additionally, healthcare employees often have access to prescription medications and drugs, so they mustn’t have a history of substance abuse.

When you partner with a background screening firm, they will conduct all these searches and verify identity as part of the healthcare background check requirements. They will also provide a report detailing the results and any findings that might impact your hiring decision. This is why it’s critical to work with a company that has experience with the medical industry and understands the nuances of state and federal regulations relating to background checks.

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