Recognizing the healthcare industry's unique employment screening challenges, Fireback created Healthcare Focus to illustrate common practices by leading healthcare organizations when addressing important issues related to background checks and health screenings.
Spotlight is a summary of the 2020 Fireback Employment Screening Benchmark report, which includes a survey of 245 respondents covering human resources, talent management, recruiting, safety and security, and healthcare industry compliance. The report shows trends in employment screening and valuable best practices for strengthening background screening programs for healthcare providers.
Of those who responded to the survey, 75% worked for organizations that provided direct patient care. Of this 75 percent, 37 percent work in a hospital or acute care facility, 18 percent work in a long-term care facility, and 12 percent participate in outpatient care. More than half of respondents were in executive, director or management roles.
Healthcare hiring outlook
Almost all respondents (93 per cent) said they expected no reduction in the Labour force over the next 12 months, while 48 per cent expected employment to increase.
The main background check challenges reported were reducing overall hiring time, completing employment verification, tracking permits and complying with background check requirements.
It is increasingly important for healthcare organizations to evaluate and strengthen their employment screening programs in conjunction with recruitment needs and the key screening challenges reported by respondents.
The importance of background checks
Respondents said their main reasons for conducting background checks included complying with regulatory requirements (72 percent), preventing hiring risks (59 percent), improving the quality of hiring (58 percent) and protecting their reputation (38 percent).
In HireRight's experience, healthcare employers are risk adverse and appear to use employment screening to minimize the risk of fines and penalties for violations, litigation, bad hiring, and brand damage effects. Employers should examine the most common and health-care-specific background checks that can be used to mitigate these risks.
Based on the findings from HireRight Health Care Spotlight, we'll look at three major recruiting challenges respondents face and share some common practices recommended to help overcome them.
Challenge #1: Healthcare specific risks and regulations
The health care industry faces more compliance requirements for background screening and hiring than any other industry. In health care, traditional background screening best practices of non-health care organizations should be followed, such as employment eligibility, work history, drug testing, criminal history and background checks.
Healthcare organizations must also comply with regulatory agencies such as the Joint Commission (TJC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of inspector General (OIG) or face time-consuming audits, fines and penalties.
Background screening can also improve the quality of hiring and reduce the risk of damaging incidents such as abuse, negligence or fraud. In fact, according to HireRight Health Care Spotlight, the top three reasons employers use screening, after compliance issues, are to prevent recruitment oversight, improve recruitment quality and protect an organization's reputation.
How background Screening providers can Help: Working with trusted background screening providers can help healthcare organizations build automated and comprehensive screening solutions to promote compliance and reduce hiring risks. On-demand employment Screening solutions bundle dozens of background and medical sanctions screening searches into an easy-to-use system. The automated filtering solution also provides an accessible audit trail to simplify audit preparation.
Challenge #2: Gaps in federal sanctions data
To prevent Fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, OIG prohibits healthcare organizations from hiring or doing business with previously sanctioned individuals. The OIG requires health care employers to screen workers and suppliers annually against a federal sanctions list.
However, the sanctions list is not updated in real time. There can be a significant delay between when an individual is sanctioned and when that information appears in the registry. In addition, a growing number of states are developing their own sanctions registries. If a person moves a lot, it's hard to know how many states to check.
Searching the sanctions list is just one screening method. Searches limited to sanctions lists do not uncover information on crimes and other adverse conduct obtained through other sources. Relying on sanctions checks alone could lead to screening gaps and expose employers to greater risk.
How background screening providers can help: Rather than relying solely on federal sanctions lists, seek an on-demand background and sanctions screening solution that searches federal, state, and national databases for positive matches related to criminal activity or sanctions and exclusion violations. This broader search helps spot red flags in a person's history.
Challenge #3: Human error
Eighty-two percent of healthcare survey respondents said they had or knew someone who had lied during a background check. When screening programs involve human resources personnel manually checking individuals' backgrounds against dozens of outside sources, falsified information and human error can go unnoticed. Piecemeal manual screening programs can expose healthcare organizations to poor recruitment and noncompliance issues.
How background screening providers can help: Centralized automated screening solutions can help reduce the potential for human error by running comprehensive identity and background searches simultaneously. The system also helps reduce human error by alerting personnel to any incomplete results or missing compliance requirements.