Background Checks in Healthcare
Background Checks in Healthcare

The Ultimate Guide to Background Checks for Healthcare

Noel Diem |

For anyone in healthcare, ensuring patient safety and compliance are top priorities. Of course, this means going beyond learning best practices in the healthcare setting. It starts with hiring great people – and then ensuring they are who they say they are.

Background checks are crucial in upholding the standards we’ve set for healthcare.

Why? From protecting patients to enhancing outcomes, it’s all connected.

So, what should you do? Whether you’re a hiring manager or a healthcare professional, we’ll tell you what you need to know about background screening in healthcare.

The Ultimate Guide to Background Checks for Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, background checks are vital for three main reasons.


  1. Protect patients
  2. Ensure compliance
  3. Enhance outcomes.

There are plenty of reasons why you may want to have a good background screening program. Those are the three big ones! You also want to avoid lawsuits, keep your employees safe, and protect your reputation.

By screening healthcare workers, you protect patients from risks and ensure that only qualified individuals give care. The rest stems from there! Prioritizing background checks in healthcare settings is a fundamental step toward maintaining higher standards of quality and safety.

It’s not only a necessity, but it’s a duty of everyone hiring in healthcare.

healthcare CTA

Protecting patient safety

We all know that the healthcare industry has faced a lot of pushback over the last few years. With the spread of misinformation on the internet, it is only getting worse. Healthcare professionals, including those in hiring, must do their best to avoid risk.

When it comes to healthcare, patient safety is paramount. One misstep and the entire industries pays. Background checks are the first step to ensure that only qualified workers give care. By screening healthcare workers, you can create a safer environment for everyone.

At the same time, you’re saving countless healthcare workers from pushback.

Ensuring compliance and preventing violations

Ensuring compliance and preventing violations are crucial in healthcare background checks. By conducting screenings, organizations adhere to regulations, maintain a safe environment, and protect their reputation. Violations can result in legal consequences and jeopardize the quality of care provided. Consistent monitoring is key to upholding standards.

Every case is different. It’s impossible to know how your organization could be impacted if you don’t screen. There are cases all the time where someone pretends to be a doctor or makes a big mistake and moves states to get a new job.

Enhancing patient outcomes

People in healthcare are there because they want to make a difference.

Enhancing patient outcomes is a top priority in healthcare. By conducting thorough background checks on workers, facilities ensure trustworthy staff members. This leads to improved quality of care, better health outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction.

It also saves lives. There is no exaggeration here: good background screening can save someone’s life.

Understanding Healthcare Background Checks

Healthcare background checks are crucial in vetting candidates for roles in the medical field. Sometimes, there are regulations on what screenings can be done. These regulations vary, but typically include criminal, education verification, and professional license validation.

With Mitratech’s background screening software for healthcare, you can create your own package. Choose the background screening that matters to you and your organization.

Want to learn more about background screening in healthcare? Click here to see our complete overview.

What are the regulations for background screening in healthcare?

There isn’t a single, universal set of regulations for background checks in healthcare. It makes things difficult, but it
Here’s why:

  • Varied Regulations: Background screening requirements can differ based on:
    • The type of healthcare facility (hospital, clinic, etc.)
    • The specific job role
    • Location (state and federal)
  • Employer Policies: Individual employers often have policies setting requirements for background checks. These can be stricter than the baseline regulations.

Here are some resources to help you navigate the specifics:

  • Consult professionals. Consult with a professional to ensure your background check practices follow regulations.
  • Industry Resources. Organizations like the HR for Health offer guidance.

What’s included in healthcare background checks?

We already know that searches have to be thorough to protect our safety. But what does thorough really mean?

Here are the most common types of background screening used in healthcare:

  • National Criminal Background Check. This search looks for any criminal convictions on the applicant’s record. Certain positions, such as those that work with children or the elderly, need a more in-depth criminal background check.
  • National Sex Offender Search. This search checks to see if the applicant is listed on any national sex offender registries.
  • Identity Verification Check. This check confirms that the applicant is who they say they are. It also confirms that their Social Security number is valid.
  • Drug Screening. Most healthcare employers require drug testing as a condition of employment. This helps to ensure that employees are not impaired by drugs or alcohol while on the job.
  • Verification of Past Education and Employment. Employers will contact the applicant’s past employers and schools to verify the information.
  • Federal Exclusion Search. This search checks to see if the applicant is on any federal exclusion lists. One example of this is the List of Excluded Individuals – General Services Administration (GSA). These lists include healthcare workers who have been sanctioned for fraud, abuse, or neglect.

The depth of a background check will vary depending on the specific position.

Are there HIPPA concerns in healthcare background screening?

While there are HIPAA concerns with background checks in healthcare, it’s not straightforward. The main thing you want to know is that YOUR APPLICANT hasn’t had HIPPA violations.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • HIPAA doesn’t mandate background checks! HIPAA itself doesn’t require background checks for healthcare workers.
  • Focus on authorized access. HIPAA’s “Security Rule” emphasizes “information access management” ( This means ensuring that staff accessing protected health information (PHI) are authorized for their role. Some will interpret this as needing to verify trustworthiness through background checks.
  • Focus on relevant information. Background checks should target information relevant to the job and potential risk. For example, a financial crime on a non-financial role might not be as relevant as a patient abuse conviction.
  • Minimize PHI Exposure. Your background check company should only receive information necessary to conduct the check.
  • HIPAA Violations on Background Checks. Generally, only serious HIPAA violations that result in legal action or public record entries would show up. That’s why checking references is so important.

In summary, HIPAA doesn’t directly regulate background checks. However, it does emphasize securing access to PHI. Healthcare facilities can navigate this by conducting targeted background checks with minimal PHI disclosure.

What background screening findings can disqualify a healthcare candidate?

Background screening findings can disqualify a healthcare candidate for various reasons. Here are some of the most common findings that might lead to disqualification:

  • Certain Criminal Convictions. Crimes involving violence, assault, theft, fraud, or illegal drug use can be disqualifying. This is especially true if they relate to patient care or financial responsibility. The severity and nature of the crime, as well as how long ago it occurred, will be considered.
  • Patient Abuse or Neglect. A history of harming or neglecting patients, including abuse of children or elders, is a red flag.
  • Sexual Offenses. Convictions for sexual assault or misconduct likely disqualify a candidate from healthcare work.
  • Dishonesty. If a candidate lied about their education, experience, or other information on their application, it could be grounds for disqualification.
  • License Revocation or Sanctions. If a candidate has had their professional license revoked or faced disciplinary action for misconduct, it’s disqualifying.
  • Unresolved Negative References. Negative references from past employers could raise a red flag.

These are just a few of the reasons someone may be disqualified.

Here are some more points to consider:

  • Fairness and Consistency. Employers should have a clear policy outlining which findings can disqualify a candidate. Apply it consistently to applicants.
  • Opportunity to Explain. In some cases, candidates may be given the chance to explain a finding on their background check. This is particularly true if it’s an older offense or there are dubious circumstances.
  • State Laws. Some states have “ban the box” laws that restrict employers from asking about criminal history on initial applications. It’s important for healthcare facilities to follow all relevant state and federal laws.

Need to increase speed-to-hire? Automation is the answer.

Automation plays a crucial role in expediting the hiring process for healthcare professionals.

By utilizing advanced technology, hospitals can streamline background checks, reduce manual errors, and accelerate hiring. Automation makes it possible to keep up with the near-constant hiring cycle.

If you haven’t used software for healthcare background screening – or you’ve used subpar software – you might not be sold on how it can help. Here’s what we’ve seen:

Improvements in hiring processes

We don’t have to tell you that hiring in healthcare is challenging. People are leaving the industry in droves, and the replacements aren’t always great. Even so, we need to fill those roles. We cannot do so by cutting corners.

By implementing thorough background checks, hospitals attract top talent, reduce turnover, and maintain compliance. They also make it easier on EVERYONE, including HR, patients, and other workers.

Streamlining these processes leads to a more efficient and effective recruitment strategy overall.

Accuracy, compliance, and modernization

When it comes to healthcare background checks, accuracy is key. It’s not enough to just run a background screening and call it a day. You have to trust those results. HR leaders and managers can’t be everywhere at once. Even so, you need to move quickly AND stay compliant.

Modernization through technology makes it all possible. It streamlines the process, making hiring efficient and reliable. It gives healthcare leaders peace of mind that when their backs are turned, patients are still getting the care they need.

Partnering with Reliable Providers for Enhanced Safety and Hiring Speed

As you wrap up the healthcare background check process, remember to stay vigilant and adaptable. The industry is ever-evolving, so staying informed on compliance changes is crucial. Keep enhancing your screening methods to ensure patient safety and expedited hiring practices.

Partnering with reliable providers for enhanced safety and hiring speed is crucial in the healthcare industry. Mitratech can be your partner in background screening. We’ve worked with top healthcare providers, ensuring on-going screening and safety. Our experts will work with you to build a screening package that makes sense, fits your budget, and takes some of the stress off of you.

Together, let’s create a safer and more efficient healthcare environment for all. Click here to schedule a demo.

Got the resources to meet return-to-work challenges?

Mitratech offers the right solutions and support to help you pivot to meet post-pandemic demands.