Any worker employed on a temporary basis by a healthcare organization is referred to as a casual or non-employee. Temporary workers can be hired directly by an organization's human resources department or indirectly through third-party providers, such as staffing agencies.
Nonemployees make up a large percentage of a healthcare organization's workforce, such as medical providers, administrators, food service workers, cleaners, and security personnel. While it is a common best practice for healthcare organizations to conduct background screening for all employees, organizations sometimes find it difficult to apply the same employment screening program to temporary workers.
Here are four major challenges that make it difficult for healthcare organizations to screen temporary workers and advice on how to overcome each.
Challenge #1: Limited resources
In addition to background screening for all employees, healthcare organizations may find they don't have the staff, budget or time to screen temporary workers. The process becomes more complicated when temps are hired through multiple third-party vendors.
Suggested solution: Don't hesitate to put the burden of temp screening on the supplier. Start with a background screening policy that specifies the extent and frequency of screening required for all workers. Then contract to require the vendor to apply a screening policy when placing employees in your organization.
Challenge #2: Employment status is unclear
A medical institution does not want to take on the role of employer for temporary workers. When organizations hire temporary workers, they risk entering a grey area where these workers may believe they have the same status and rights as employees.
Suggested solution: Make sure temporary workers are treated separately during all your hiring and employment screening processes. Whether temporary workers are hired through human resources or suppliers, make sure their non-employment status is clearly stated at each stage of the hiring process. Non-employee status should be clearly defined from pre-entry screening to follow-up screening, issue of badges, access to facilities, and even payment.
Challenge #3: Enforce consistent vendor selection
There are problems getting vendors to add background filtering components to their other services. Most healthcare organizations deal with multiple providers to meet their contract recruitment needs, and it is difficult to obtain the same case-by-case screening services across all these third parties.
Suggested solution: Make screening a requirement during vendor selection. Develop a screening policy and modify all supplier contracts to enforce screening in accordance with the policy. When the supplier does not meet the requirements of the screening policy, be sure to specify the screening plan indicators, audit schedule and penalties in the contract.
Challenge #4: Difficulty starting the filtering process
With hundreds of different types of suppliers and temporary workers, it can be difficult to know where and how to implement the screening process.
Suggested solution: No need to have a screening process for all vendors and temporary workers at the same time. It's usually best to start with the largest group of temporary workers or the supplier with the longest relationship with your organization. By initially testing the screening process in a group or with a vendor, the organization can go back and make any necessary improvements to the process before rolling it out to more areas.