Healthcare Background Check Requirements: What You Need to Know

  • February 20, 2024
  • Joe DeSanzo
  • Approx. Read Time: 8 Minutes
Healthcare Background Check Requirements: What You Need to Know

It's important to understand and comply with your state's healthcare background check requirements. Most states regulate who can work in the healthcare industry because healthcare workers interact with the most vulnerable in society.

Here are the main factors to consider concerning healthcare background checks: 

    • Importance. Healthcare background checks are important because they protect your patients, staff, and the reputation of your organization or practice. Letting someone with a criminal record work at your practice or organization puts your patients at risk of both medical error and criminal intent. 
    • Requirements. A comprehensive healthcare background check should include verification of identity, education, licensure, and employment history. It should also check national sex offender registries, government watch lists, and federal exclusion lists. No healthcare background check is complete without drug testing and a criminal background search. 
    • Regulations. Many states have different regulations depending on the position. For example, a doctor's healthcare background check requirements may be different than a nurse's. Some states have specific requirements for positions such as EMTs and anesthesiologists. 
    • PreCheck. PreCheck can help your organization or practice stay safe and compliant with comprehensive and accurate healthcare background checks. 

It’s hard to imagine someone in the healthcare industry being dishonest in their resume, but it happens a lot more than you would think.

Healthcare background checks help keep people honest, especially when they know that misrepresenting their qualifications could cost them an employment opportunity. 

Most states have regulations governing healthcare background check requirements because there's a lot at stake.

Comprehensive screening protects the vulnerable and can protect your staff and the reputation of your organization or practice. 



Key Takeaways 

Here’s what you need to know about healthcare background check requirements: 

        • Healthcare background checks protect your patients, your staff, and your organization or practice. 
        • Many states have regulations that govern the background check requirements in the healthcare industry. 
        • Healthcare background check requirements include a national criminal background check, national sex offender search, and domestic watch list search. 
        • Doctor and nurse background checks often include identity, license, education, and previous employment verification. 
        • A reputable healthcare background check service can provide comprehensive, thorough screening for your organization or practice. 


Table of Contents 

  1. Why Is It Important to Conduct Comprehensive Healthcare Background Checks? 
  2. Healthcare Background Check Requirements 
  3. Are Healthcare Background Check Requirements Always the Same? 
  4. Meet Your Healthcare Background Check Requirements 


Healthcare Background Checks 1


Why Is It Important to Conduct Comprehensive Healthcare Background Checks? 

While compliance with state regulations is very important, that's not the only reason to conduct comprehensive healthcare background checks. 

A November 2022 study found that 38.1% of healthcare workers admitted to lying on their resumes to get a job. While this is less than the 64.2% average of all industries combined, it’s a much higher number than you would expect for such a regulated industry. 


Protect Your Patients and Caregivers 

The most important reason to have a healthcare background check is because it protects your patients.

The qualifications of the people your patients have caring for them directly affect their health and safety. 

Healthcare background checks also protect your staff and work environment by screening out potentially harmful or even dangerous workers.

Minimizing accidents with safer hiring practices also helps protect your visitors. 


Hire Qualified Candidates 

A healthcare background check gives a complete picture of the education, work experience, and criminal record of any candidate you’re considering hiring. It also involves verifying licenses to ensure they’re up-to-date and active.  

This helps you find qualified candidates who have the proper credentials, training, and experience for the position you’re hoping to fill. Hiring someone unqualified can leave you open to malpractice lawsuits. 

Because many states regulate healthcare workers, background check requirements can change constantly.

Hiring someone without meeting the nurse or doctor background check requirements in your state can leave you vulnerable to civil penalties for non-compliance with local regulations. 


Uphold Your Facility’s Reputation 

Any business’s reputation, whether it’s in healthcare or any other industry, is built on trust.

Proper background investigation mitigates risk by identifying issues such as substance use, inappropriate behaviors, or potential criminal activity. 

A tarnished reputation isn’t the worst-case scenario. Without thorough background checks, you run the risk that the wrong person could come into your practice or organization and cause problems big enough that they could put an end to your business. 


Healthcare Background Check Requirements 

Healthcare background checks differ from employment background checks in other industries because they're usually state-regulated.

Even if your state has no laws governing healthcare background checks, checking the following protects your patients and practice or organization. 


1. Identity Verification 

Before you can even begin an accurate background check, you have to verify that the candidate is the person they say they are. Any information you gather after someone has misrepresented their identity is useless. 

Without this verification, you could unknowingly allow someone near your patients or staff who has a criminal record or has lost their license due to malpractice or ethical violations.

In a healthcare setting, medical errors and other safety issues could cause harm to your patients. 

Also, someone who is already engaging in identity theft would have access to more personal information they could use for their own purposes.

Identity verification helps protect your organization from HIPAA violations and other security issues and can lead to greater patient trust, loyalty, and satisfaction with their care. 


2. Verifying Education, Licensure, and Employment 

With the proliferation of AI-assisted writing, it’s easier than ever to fabricate education information on a resume. There are even services that will provide counterfeit degree certificates and forged transcripts.  

Education verification ensures that your potential healthcare worker has the state-required degree and training for the position. 

Many positions in the healthcare industry require up-to-date licenses in the state where medical personnel are practicing. It’s important to verify the license rather than just accept when a candidate says their license is current. 

Employment verification is another area subject to scams. For a fee, services will supply a verification of employment at a non-existent company that includes a website, email address, and even a phone number for a phony boss or HR department to answer. 

In the healthcare industry, it’s important to detect these types of fraudulent practices and verify actual employment history, including dates, terminations, and any issues that the potential worker might want to hide.

Accurate and thorough education, licensure, and employment verifications help protect your patients and build trust in your organization. 


3. National Criminal Background Check 

A national criminal background check is a quick scan of databases and criminal records registries from all 50 states, Washington DC, and U.S. territories.

While this is a fast and easy place to start, it’s not thorough enough to find all criminal records. 

One reason for that is because many local courts don’t post their records online. Another reason is that records that are posted may be inaccurate. 

The most thorough and comprehensive criminal background search includes a check in state, county, and local court records. Any records that are found need to be verified to ensure that they’re accurate. 

If you refuse to hire someone based on an inaccurate record, your organization or practice could end up facing a lawsuit or fines for non-compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations. 


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


4.Federal Exclusion Search 

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) maintains the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) barred from receiving federal funds. This is usually because they have been convicted of certain crimes. 

Employing someone on the federal exclusion list may prevent your practice or organization from participating in programs like Medicaid and Medicare that are federally funded or subject your practice or organization to civil monetary penalties. 


5. Domestic Watchlist Search 

While it’s unlikely you'll be hiring a suspected terrorist in the healthcare industry, this can happen.

The federal government maintains a record of individuals barred from working in certain federal and state positions, including healthcare. Important watchlists to check include: 

          • Government Services Administration (GSA) 
          • Office of Foreign Asset and Control (OFAC) 
          • FBI Most Wanted 
          • Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) 
          • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 

While your practice or organization may be private, any involvement with federal programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid, puts you at an obligation to make sure you aren’t hiring someone on one of these lists.

Regardless, if the government doesn’t think a person is safe, you wouldn’t want them to work around your staff or patients either. 


6. National Sex Offender Search 

According to safehome.org, there are over 700,000 registered sex offenders nationwide as of 2023. This includes those who have faced charges for sex crimes in addition to those who have pled guilty or been convicted. 

A national sex offender search for healthcare professionals is critical because they have regular interactions with vulnerable adults and children. Mistakenly hiring a sex offender puts your patients and staff at risk and could potentially be damaging to the reputation of your practice or organization. 


7. Healthcare Worker Drug Testing 

Because drug use can affect patient care and safety, drug screening is an important part of a healthcare background check.

With powerful prescription drugs in easy access to healthcare workers, it’s important to know if a potential candidate has a history of substance abuse. 

According to a 5-year study published in 2009, 10% to 12% of physicians will develop substance abuse disorder in the course of their careers. Physicians in the study admitted to accessing drugs in their workplace and even diverting them from their patients. 

Without drug screening, you can create a potential liability if there’s a medical error or safety incident due to impaired judgment or performance that involves substance abuse. Drug screening helps protect your patients, staff, and the reputation of your practice or organization. 


8. Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS)

This is a database of disciplinary actions taken against former healthcare employees by their employers. 


9. Immunizations

Because healthcare workers are exposed to communicable diseases, it’s important to verify that their immunizations are up-to-date. 


Are Healthcare Background Check Requirements Always the Same? 

Many states regulate healthcare background checks in general and have different doctor healthcare background check requirements compared to nurse healthcare background check requirements. Also, these regulations change frequently. 

For example, nursing requirements in Arizona are governed by the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN), which requires a fingerprint clearance card. Some states also have hospital healthcare background check requirements. 

To keep your organization compliant with ever-changing state regulations, you need an expert in accurate and comprehensive healthcare background checks. 


Meet Your Healthcare Background Check Requirements 

With so much at stake for highly regulated healthcare organizations, healthcare employers can't afford to miss important information or fall behind with state requirements. At PreCheck, our team of FCRA-certified experts will provide thorough, accurate, and compliant healthcare background checks on your prospective candidates. 

PreCheck, a Cisive company, has over 30 years of healthcare experience. Cisive is known for its 99.9994% accurate criminal background checks that minimize the risk of your organization or practice having to face FCRA violations. 

Find out how PreCheck can help your practice or organization protect its patients, staff, and reputation with comprehensive and accurate healthcare background checks that meet your state's healthcare background check requirements. Speak with an expert today. 


Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


Related posts