Finding the Right Employees for Patient Care: Background Checks in Healthcare

Nick Fishman

Background Checks in Healthcare

With recent news coverage putting the spotlight on stricter background checks for senior caregivers and screening requirements (or lack thereof) for Obamacare navigators, the healthcare industry should be increasingly aware of the need for more comprehensive employment background checks.

Employers in the healthcare industry should be concerned about not only the safety of employees, but particularly the safety and wellbeing of the people they care for—the patients. Whether it’s a hospital, nursing home, or hospice, the healthcare industry is another industry in which employment background checks are more than just an asset—they are vital to protecting patients. EmployeeScreenIQ data shows that of those we screen in the healthcare industry, we find a 21% criminal hit rate, which is lower than our average hit rate of 28%, but this is obviously still a significant number of job candidates.

So, what’s the best way to protect your organization and patients? Not only should you have a comprehensive employment background screening program, but you should also ensure your program is in compliance with recent regulations and laws.

First, which positions should be screened in healthcare? While anyone who will potentially have contact with patients should have a background check, these are positions that should require specific attention:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Aides
  • Medical Assistants and Techs
  • EMT
  • Paramedic
  • Physical Therapists
  • Home Aides

In addition to knowing who to screen, you might be wondering which searches are needed for background checks in healthcare. Background screening packages vary based on each company’s needs, but generally searches for this industry include:

  • Social Security Number Trace
  • County Criminal Record Search
  • Federal Criminal Record Search
  • National Criminal Record Database Search
  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Education Verifications
  • Employment Verifications
  • Professional License Verification
  • OIG/GSA Sanctions Check
  • Substance Abuse Screening

In addition to knowing the positions that should be screened and the searches to use, employers in the healthcare industry must also consider compliance. Most importantly, healthcare companies must comply with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO). If you’re not familiar with the commission, this organization holds healthcare providers to several requirements.

The essence of the JCAHO requirement is that hospitals and covered health care entities conduct Primary Source Verification (PSV) on all licensed, registered or certified staff. The rule applies to both employees and contract staff and also applies to the process of tracking license renewals as well. For more information, visit The Joint Commission website here and if you’re interested, check out the history of the commission here.

Are you a healthcare provider seeking to improve the quality and accuracy of your employment background checks?

Find out how our client Hospice Compassus improved its employment background checks by partnering with EmployeeScreenIQ.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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