3 Reasons to Conduct Post-Hire Background Checks in Healthcare
Most employers conduct background checks before hiring a new employee, but it’s a different picture for current employees. While post-hire background checks may not be the norm across industries, there are a few key reasons why a heavily regulated industry such as healthcare might choose to adopt this practice. Pre-employment background checks can mitigate risk during the hiring process, but with patient and staff safety at stake, it’s important to keep healthcare organizations safe in the long-term.
Research Shows Healthcare Employers Conduct Ongoing Background Checks
A January 2010 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll on post-hire background checks found that roughly a quarter of employers reported to conduct these types of checks at their organization. Of those respondents that conduct post-hire background checks, 18 percent do so on an annual schedule. Although SHRM’s survey was not healthcare-specific, the healthcare and social assistance (e.g. nursing homes) industry was the most represented industry among the participants at 18 percent.
More recently, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) released the results of the 2014 Compliance and Ethics Program Environment Survey. While not specifically about post-hire background checks, one of the questions revealed the 93 percent of organizations conduct employment background checks. Of those that conduct background checks, 16 percent of organizations reported they conduct them periodically. Again, the study is not healthcare-specific, but 31 percent of respondents identified themselves as being from a healthcare or social assistance organization.
Conducting Background Checks When There’s a Change in Status
In the SHRM poll, the number one reason cited for conducting post-hire background checks was when there is a change in an employee’s status, such as a lateral transfer, part-time to full-time, and so forth. 42 percent of respondents reported conducting these types of checks under these circumstances. In healthcare, this has certain implications for medical services professionals. Although the industry is trending toward the hiring of physicians, the medical staff services department plays a critical role in the credentialing, vetting, and privileging of physicians. For medical services professionals, this means conducting a background check on physicians whenever there is a change in their privileges or at time of reappointment.
Ongoing Checks are the Standard in Healthcare Exclusion Screening
In order to have an effective compliance program, it’s critical for healthcare employers to conduct ongoing exclusion and sanction screenings. Not having an exclusion screening program in place can have costly civil monetary penalties (CMP’s). In 2013, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs. In the document, the OIG states, “Screening employees and contractors each month best minimizes potential overpayment and Civil and Monetary Fines.” The reasoning behind this recommendation is that the OIG updates their List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) on a monthly basis, so it’s possible that you can find an excluded individual on the list next month that you didn’t see last month. Conducting monthly exclusion screenings helps healthcare organizations protect the integrity of their programs by accessing the latest publicly available information.
Post-hire background checks can help healthcare organizations protect their staff and patients in the long-term. Background checks represent a snapshot in time, and a lot can happen in a month, a year, and certainly a few years down the road. By checking the latest publicly available information periodically, healthcare organizations can minimize risk and uncover red flags that weren’t present at the time of initial hire.
Is your organization thinking about conducting ongoing post-hire background checks? Contact us today to learn how PreCheck can help you implement an ongoing background and exclusion screening program.