3 Hiring Risks Faced By Small Health Care Providers

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In the health care industry, hiring an individual with a criminal history could create increased compliance, legal, safety and reputational risks. Yet in a recent report, The Office of Inspector General (OIG) analyzed FBI records and found that 92 percent of nursing facilities employ at least one individual with a past criminal conviction.

The potentially steep financial penalties and brand damage resulting from an incident involving an employee with a criminal record may be more than a small health care organization could survive. By implementing an effective employee background screening program, small health care organizations can mitigate many hiring risks including:

1. Safety and Reputational Risks
Health care organizations are responsible for providing patients and employees with a safe environment. A workplace incident or crime involving a worker with a criminal background can mar a small health care organization’s reputation making it difficult to attract new workers and clients.

2. Compliance Risks
Many states have passed or are considering legislation requiring health care providers to conduct pre-employment background checks. However, the background screening requirements vary by state, making it essential that small health care organizations understand which laws and regulations may impact them in the state or states in which they operate.

Additionally, health care organizations accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients must comply with federal requirements for background screening their workers. Failure to do so can result in steep fines or the loss of privileges to work with Medicare and Medicaid patients.

3. Legal Risks
Negligent hiring claims are another potential risk for healthcare organizations. A negligent hiring claim alleges that worker causes an incident and the employer should have “reasonably known” that worker was unfit for his or her duties.

There have been many negligent hiring cases that have found employers liable for millions of dollars. One of the largest negligent hiring verdicts on record is a 2002 health care case, Gurtin vs. Nurse Connection, et. al., which resulted in approximately $40 million dollars in damages. A costly negligent hiring case could potentially put a small health care organization out of business.

How Background Screening Can Help
By partnering with a leading background screening provider, small health care organizations can take steps mitigate the risks discussed above. A background screening provider like HireRight that is knowledgeable about the health care industry can work with your organization to help establish appropriate employee background checks for different roles.

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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The HireRight Blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and is not a substitute for and should not be construed as legal advice. HireRight does not warrant any statements in the HireRight Blog. Any statutes or laws cited herein should be read in their entirety. You should direct to your own experienced legal counsel questions involving your organization’s compliance with or interpretation or application of laws or regulations and any additional legal requirements that may apply.