Attorneys do it.
Accountants do it.
Teachers do it.
Truck drivers do it.
You can add social workers, nurses, and therapists to the list, too.
But you may be shocked to learn that not every doctor does it. In fact, 13 states don’t even require physicians be background checked.
Say what now?
The issue has come to the forefront of the medical, screening and HR communities once again because another doctor, one with a violent criminal history no less, is accused of assaulting a patient. The Baltimore Sun reports that Dr. William Dando was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at an urgent care center in Maryland. Dando was previously convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint in 1987 and served four years of his 10 year sentence, released early for good behavior. This time, Dando avoided going to trial to face the sexual assault charge by relinquishing his medical license in September.
In response to Dando’s case, the Maryland Board of Physicians is considering proposing legislation in 2015 mandating the fingerprinting and continual monitoring of criminal charges for doctors. The law would also require doctors to undergo a background check before being licensed to practice in Maryland. The state currently has no law requiring physicians to be screened before or during employment.
Maryland isn’t alone in its lack of hiring and screening guidelines for doctors. Lobby group Public Citizen cites this article from Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine that reports that “state medical boards do not consistently conduct criminal background checks on all physicians applying for a medical license, and medical licensing boards in thirteen states and jurisdictions do not consider a felony conviction related to the practice of medicine to be sufficient grounds in and of itself for a board review, hearing or action.”
Mind-boggling, isn’t it? As this piece for Bioethics.net states: “It is hard to determine which is more concerning: the fact that state medical boards are now doing background checks on their physicians or that prior experience suggests that they have to in order to protect public safety.”
Every healthcare agency worth its salt knows that screening candidates, we’re talking everyone from food service employees to thoracic surgeons, is of the utmost importance to ensure patient safety, promote a safe environment, cover liability and protect the organization’s reputation. Background checks are the first step a healthcare organization can take to perform due diligence that they are hiring top-tier, honest, professional and responsible employees. Not to mention people with criminal-free pasts.
A typical background check for healthcare workers (when conducted by Active Screening) investigates the following:
- Identity & Credit Establish your applicant’s identity, address history and personal responsibility.
- Driver’s Records Determine eligibility for driving a company or personal vehicle for business use.
- Criminal Records Identify criminal convictions or lack thereof so that you can hire with confidence.
- References & Credentialing Confirm the information provided on a resume and/or job application.
- Substance Abuse Testing Insulate your organization from workplace accidents, violence and rising health care costs.
- Electronic I-9 Solutions Verify your applicants right to work through integration with E-Verify.
- Global Solutions For a global workforce or organizations who hire overseas individuals.
- Applicant-Entry Solutions Give your applicants a simple online paperless form and payment solution.
The Hospitalist also writes that depending on requirements issued by a healthcare organization, a background check may also look at:
- The National Practitioner Data Bank for malpractice cases and medical board sanctions.
- Medicare sanction list of the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Leaving something this important up to medical boards to implement and oversee simply isn’t working. As previously mentioned, not enough of them are doing it. Additionally, if they are trying to do it themselves, too many of them are relying on outdated or inaccurate information from the FBI.
If you think you can vet your physician yourself using online databases or ratings websites, think again. Not one of these entities will paint a complete picture of a physician. The only way to thoroughly vet a doctor is for all 50 states to mandate that doctors have to be screened before getting their medical license issued.
For more information on Active Screening’s healthcare solutions, click here.