Health Care Employment Screening Best Practices

Matthew Tarpey


We all want to work with trustworthy people, which is why so many employers make background screenings a standard part of the hiring process. Confirming a candidate’s qualifications and background, and seeking to uncover anything that might be hidden—purposefully or accidentally—is important to the safety and success of your current employees, your company’s reputation, and your clients.

This is even more important in the health care industry, where the clients are patients who are often trusting health care professionals with their lives. The patient/caregiver relationship is unlike any other professional relationship, and health care organizations must diligently protect patients’ safety and privacy.

Proper employment screening is uniquely important in the health care industry – and comes with some unique challenges as well. Here are four best practices for choosing a health care employment screening service.

1. Cast a Wide Net
Odds are, the majority of candidates you’ll encounter won’t have a criminal past they’re trying to run from. But because your business depends on workers who are not only caring for patients but also handling sensitive information, it’s important to know whom you’re hiring.

When choosing an employment screening service, be sure to select one that can provide comprehensive criminal reports at the county, state and federal levels. An individual’s criminal records may not appear in every database, but a thorough and expansive search at multiple levels can find those records.

2. Validate Credentials
A proper employment screening program is about far more than confirming a candidate isn’t a criminal; equally important is the verification of their qualifications. Licenses and certifications are hardly unique to the health care industry, but ensuring the validity of a health care candidate’s credentials can have life or death consequences. A good background check should verify not only that they are who they say they are, but also that they can do what they say they can.

3. Keep an Eye on Compliance
Employment screening programs have to balance on a tightrope between providing maximum safety to employers and their clients, and respecting the individual’s right to privacy. While some regulations—like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)—exist at the federal level, health care organizations are also subject to a wide range of additional state and industry employment screening regulations and guidelines that employers should be careful to comply with.

And compliance is especially critical for health care organizations, as failure to comply can result in costly fines or exclusion from federally- or state-funded health care programs. A good employment screening company will not only already have a clear understanding of the regulatory landscape relevant to your organization, but will proactively help you stay up to date in updates and changes that may impact your screening practices.

4. Don’t Forget Candidate Experience
Creating and following a comprehensive employment screening process is a vital part of the hiring process, and it’s easy to get so focused on checking all the boxes that you forget to consider things from the candidates’ point of view. A confusing, opaque or time-consuming screening process may discourage high quality candidates – a huge problem in an industry as competitive at health care.

Did you know CareerBuilder offers a comprehensive employment screening service dedicated to the health care industry? Learn more.



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