Making the mistake of not checking the background and qualifications of a job candidate in the medical field can be a potentially deadly mistake. Failing to conduct a background screen can also make health care companies at risk to a lawsuit and allegations of negligence if mistakes are made by medical staff. However, a thorough risk management program that includes a background check policy can reduce legal risks and ensure you place patients in the hands of qualified professionals.
Legal Duty of Due Diligence
Health care facilities and hospitals have a legal duty to exercise due diligence when hiring their staff. This means that the facility must exercise a reasonable amount of care when hiring. Hospitals and health care facilities are at risk of being placed on the Medicare Sanction List of Excluded Individuals and Entities. This list contains the names of those prohibited from receiving federal assistance (Medicare and Medicaid, for instance) because of hiring indiscretions. If facilities conduct background checks as part of a risk management program, they are proactively ensuring that job candidates are not on this list and are not a danger to others.
Advantages of Pre-screening
Approximately 10 percent of all job applicants have a criminal record that would compromise their job placement, yet they do not disclose this information. Therefore, consider these advantages of pre-screening potential employees:
- Discourages applicants from hiding a criminal background or falsifying their credentials
- Eliminates any uncertainties about applicants in the hiring process
- Demonstrates due diligence to hire applicants that do not pose a liability
- Encourages the need to be honest while going through the hiring process
Creating a Screening Program
To create an effective screening program at your facility, consider the following recommendations.
- Educate your hiring managers on the policy when implementing it. Create a policy statement that outlines your company’s commitment to hiring qualified professionals to benefit other staff members, patients and the community at large.
- Share the details of the screening program with each department, specifically the department heads. If staff members understand the program, they are more likely to assist with the process to make it more successful.
- Determine the level of screening that is appropriate for each position. The screening should vary but should remain consistent between similar positions.
- Designate a staff member to oversee the process.
If you have any questions about starting a screening program for your health care facility, contact one of our experienced staff members.