7 Key Healthcare Background Screening and Employment Qualification Trends in 2014
While PreCheck may not have a magic crystal ball that we can go to for making this type of predictions, the following trends represent what we’ve seen in the industry as well as what we’ve learned from working with our clients each day. Here’s what healthcare employers can expect in 2014 and beyond.
1. Understanding How the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance Affects Healthcare Employers
Nearly two years after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its updated Enforcement Guidance on employers’ use of arrest and conviction records in hiring and retention decisions, healthcare employers are still working on complying the guidance. While it is not considered a law or an enforceable legislation, 2013 spawned a series of litigation cases against employers like BMW and Dollar General. While the EEOC has lost in some cases, healthcare employers should still be wary of the impact of the guidance on their hiring practices.
2. Use of Credit Reports Diminishing
During last year’s National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Mid-Year Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, EEOC Commissioner Constance Barker shared with the association it will focus on the regulation of credit reports next. While the commission has not yet issued guidance on employers’ use of credit reports, employers can expect increased scrutiny on their use of credit history. Therefore, we expect employers to limit their use of credit reports with the exception of positions where this information would be considered pertinent.
3. Streamlining the Hiring Process with Applicant Tracking Systems
With the forthcoming recruiting challenges facing the healthcare industry such as a shortage of nursing staff and physicians, for example, streamlining the recruiting and hiring process will remain a key focus. Not only can applicant tracking systems, like PreCheck’s solution with HRsoft, help improve the candidate experience, but they can also be integrated with your background screening provider to further maximize efficiency in the hiring process.
4. Ongoing Background Screening
With the healthcare industry moving toward a payment model based on quality of care, patient satisfaction is key. Healthcare organizations are finding that running criminal background checks on their staff only at time of hire is simply not enough. In an article by Minneapolis’ Star Tribune, Department of Human Services Inspector General Jerry Kerber states, “there are people on whom we did a background study, and who later offended, and we didn’t know about it, because we didn’t repeat a background study, and some of those offenses are even in the serious categories of [criminal sexual conduct].”
5. Monthly Sanction Screening
In May 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs. The advisory bulletin sets monthly sanction checking as the recommended standard for healthcare organizations. Indeed, we’ve seen an increase in the number of our clients who run monthly searches on their staff, vendors, and referring physicians. Healthcare compliance officers are working with their facilities on establishing a monthly screening program. While healthcare organizations can search the OIG’s database in-house, outsourcing this monthly task with a service like SanctionCheck can free up valuable time to focus on other pressing compliance issues.
6. Standardization of Healthcare Employee License Management
An exhaustive license management process is a crucial part of hospital audits performed by The Joint Commission, DNV Healthcare, and Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations have tedious, paper-based processes in place that require a significant amount of time from human resources and as well as other departments. In 2014 and beyond, healthcare organizations will embrace technology, such as PreCheck’s LicenseManager Pro license management system, in order to centralize, automate, and digitize this often daunting and inefficient process.
7. Physician Drug Testing
In May 2013, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article by Johns Hopkins researcher Dr. Julius Cuong Pham et al. calling for hospitals, surgical centers, and other healthcare organizations to institute new regulations mandating strict drug and alcohol testing programs to support patient safety initiatives. With studies estimating that as many as 44% of serious medical events are preventable, we expect healthcare organizations and medical staff services offices to look to a physician drug testing program as one means of improving patient care.