Healthcare Background Check

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Healthcare is a multi-trillion dollar industry, and spending continues to grow each year. In fact, healthcare spending increased by almost 10% in 2021, according to the American Hospital Association.  Clearly, the need for professional medical care is a growing need in America. Accompanying this growth is the increasing need for qualified healthcare workers. That’s when healthcare background checks prove to be invaluable. 

Whether you are a hiring manager or an employment agency in the medical field, you’re responsible for employing the most qualified and reliable healthcare workers possible. Now, with the increased demand for competent healthcare staff, the burden of attaining top-notch workers is more intense today than ever before.  From hospital pre employment screening to understanding healthcare background check requirements for your state and job position – there are endless factors to consider during the pre-hire process.

Thankfully, you have PreSearch as your ally in employment background check services for hiring the best candidates for your healthcare organization.  We offer a buffet of different checks that are compliant with state and federal laws. What’s more, each of our reports includes accurate, reliable, up-to-date information.  So whether you need a background check for hospital employment or a level 2 background check for healthcare workers – PreSearch is your winning resource to meet all of your pre-hire needs.

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Why Healthcare Background Checks Are Important

As an employer, it doesn’t matter if you are hiring hospital workers, home healthcare staff, or caregivers for a healthcare facility – you’ve got to be fully aware of who is working for you. Getting a background check for healthcare workers is crucial for assessing a candidate’s qualifications, trustworthiness, and viability for employment.  When you consider a pre-hire is administering care to vulnerable patients as well as being relied upon to handle sensitive situations or confidential information – you can’t leave the hiring process to chance.  

Background checks for healthcare employees are important because they are also required by law in some states. According to US federal laws for healthcare workers, states should conduct healthcare background checks if applicants are to be working directly with patients. As a medical employer, you should consider getting criminal background checks and national security checks before a candidate is hired to work in the medical field.  Even if your state or the job position doesn’t require a background check, medical facilities and hospitals are strongly encouraged to screen candidates and applicants before hiring them in medical positions – especially if they work directly with patients.

Healthcare Background Check Requirements

A healthcare background check can be as in-depth or as basic as your organization requires. 

Medical field background check requirements differ according to your state of employment, the type of organization you have, and the job functions of the open position.  Here are a few typical checks conducted on healthcare pre-hires.

National Criminal Search

As you might assume, a national criminal search scours expansive databases nationwide to determine if the applicant has criminal activity in his or her past.  These are intense searches that probe millions of records across several thousand databases and jurisdictions throughout the 50 states and include searches in Puerto Rico, Washington DC, and Guam.

National Sex Offender Search

As of 2021, there are over 760,000 sex offenders on registries throughout the US.  While that figure has decreased by 2% from the previous year, that’s no reason to forgo getting a national sex offender search conducted on pre-hires for your healthcare organization.  This is a crucial aspect of any thorough healthcare background check that retrieves information from all 50 states and US territories.  This search reveals whether or not your healthcare candidate may or may not have pled guilty or have been convicted of a sex crime in his or her past.  In light that your healthcare applicant may be working with vulnerable patients such as the elderly or children – a sex offender search should be a key factor in your pre-hiring process.  

Identity Verification Check

Let’s face it. Even the most intense interviewing process cannot 100% confirm the candidate in front of you is exactly who they claim to be. This is why identity verification checks are crucial to confirming and validating that your applicant is who he or she represents themselves to be.  Identity verification checks are necessary to ensure you are not hiring someone who has represented themselves. 

Drug Screening

When you acknowledge that many healthcare workers are exposed to and have access to hefty prescription drugs, you’ve got to be aware if a pre-hire has had a history with substance abuse.  Even if your candidate will not be expected to administer drugs, a screening is essential to avoid theft of controlled substances, or compromising patient care if a healthcare worker is performing duties while under the influence.  

Medical physician and Harvard Medical School instructor, Dr. Peter Grinspoon conducted research for his book Free Refills.  According to his findings, Dr. Grinspoon revealed that 69% of doctors have misused prescription drugs at some point in their career. Moreover, medical workers have easy access to drugs such as Fentanyl and Oxycodone, making substance abuse a serious issue in the medical field. 

This is why it’s important to include drug screening in a doctor background check or nurse background check.  Doing so will show issues with substance abuse, which is grounds to withhold employment.

Previous Education & Employment Verification

If the most basic employment positions should run a check on education and employment history.  Because the medical field is such a specialized and potentially sensitive area, getting validation about an applicant’s education and employment is crucial.  For example, many positions in healthcare require a postsecondary degree. At the very least, positions might require certification, technical training or licensing.  Getting verification on employment and education will verify whether or not your candidate has achieved the proper training, education and experience required to competently perform the job function of the position for which they are applying.

Federal Exclusion Search

This search allows employers to to identify whether or not applicants have a criminal record, which may disqualify hiring organizations from receiving federal funding through programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.  The federal exclusion search taps into a US government list of healthcare workers who have a criminal past. This search could be essential to determining if a candidate could thwart a health organization’s ability to gain federal funding.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the aforementioned suggestions for background check requirements for healthcare workers, you should also consider that these and other checks should be ongoing throughout the employee’s history with your organization.  After hiring, healthcare workers should undergo screenings in order for employers to monitor their status.  For instance, a 6-month nursing background check post-hire, could reveal activity that might be cause for concern or even termination.  Additionally, all the background checks mentioned here should be conducted according to state and federal regulations.

Level 2 Background Check for Healthcare 

A level 2 background check for healthcare workers are fingerprint-based searches required by some states before a candidate is hired. These in-depth checks use fingerprint records to access national registries and databases in order to obtain more information about healthcare worker pre-hires.  Some of the information that is culled in a level 2 check include: Driving records, criminal history, or disciplinary actions from a licensing organization.  

This deeper check may also illuminate certain offenses in a candidate’s criminal past such as: Sex crims, child abuse, domestic violence, assault or battery.  Because healthcare workers are responsible for vulnerable or defenseless patients, this second level of background check can be invaluable in determining the right fit for your hospital or healthcare organization.

How Far Does a Healthcare Background Check Go?

In most states, background checks go back for seven years.  This is largely due to the FCRA (Federal Credit Reporting Act) which mandates that consumer reporting agencies may not search further than seven years when accessing financial or credit information on an applicant.  

This seven-year lookback limit is only for consumer reports, showing bankruptcies, liens, collections, etc.  Other background checks such as criminal, educational, or employment histories may go back further than seven years, or even as far back as a candidate’s life history.  This depends on the state, position of employment offered, and the requirements of the employer.

What Disqualifies You From Working in Healthcare?  

No matter if you are obtaining a background check for hospital employment, or need a caregiver background check in Wisconsin, several items could immediately toss a candidate out of the running for employment in the healthcare industry. For instance, healthcare workers with a criminal history of child abuse or elder abuse, clearly are disqualified from working directly with patients.  

Healthcare background checks will also uncover mistruths on a resume or application.  As an employer, if the results of a check reveals that the applicant has lied about past employment or education – it’s your discretion to withhold employment.  In almost all cases, lying about education or past employment is an instant “no-go” for employment.  After all, if an applicant lies about their past work or education – what would stop them from lying if granted the job?

As mentioned earlier, drug abuse is a common occurrence among healthcare workers.  Therefore, it is advisable for hiring managers to conduct drug screens on pre-hires.  In most cases, a failed drug screening will immediately disqualify employment.

Can You Work in Healthcare With a Misdemeanor

A criminal record is a “strike against” hiring a healthcare worker.  However, every state and healthcare organization has different approaches.  For instance, in the state of Virginia, medical assistant background check requirements state that this candidate may still be hired as a medical assistant if the job functions are not directly associated with the misdemeanor. 

In general, applicants with a misdemeanor charge on their record are more likely to be hired than, say, if an applicant was charged with a felony or other serious crimes. To reiterate, the choice to hire a candidate with a misdemeanor charge is largely contingent upon healthcare regulations in your state as well as your organization’s hiring policies. 

What You Should Know About Healthcare Sanctions?

If your healthcare organization receives sanctions like federal funding from programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, you should be especially careful in investigating a pre-hire background.  To explain, if your healthcare background checks return “red flags” such as a criminal activity on their record – this could disqualify your organization from receiving future federal funding if that applicant is hired and working within your facility.

How PreSearch Can Help You


As you can clearly see, there are a dizzying array of details and considerations when it comes to the pre-hire process for healthcare professionals.  Every state has their own requirements and regulations for hiring medical staff.  And of course, your healthcare facility has its own protocol and standards when it comes to choosing the right candidate.  

PreSearch can make your job in the healthcare industry infinitely easier.  Our fast background checks for staffing are accurate, current and thorough.  All of our background check practices are fully compliant, and we offer a wide range of different types of checks so we can meet all of your healthcare pre-hire needs.  Let us show you how we can revolutionize your hiring process by contacting us today.


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