In Asia Pacific, ongoing factors such as the aging populations, COVID-19, and worldwide demand for more healthcare facilities and services have increased the need for more healthcare workers. Given the high paid salary and recognition received among healthcare occupations, as well as the long and expensive road to attaining such careers, it’s no wonder why some job candidates commit fraud to get hired in this industry. Recent cases have revealed that several employees and job applicants in Asia are being exposed for lying about their medical qualifications and licenses, impersonating real healthcare practitioners, or even forging healthcare practice documents. Their motivations often include the desire for increased financial gain, reputational rewards, or sexual predatory incentives.
A major facilitator enabling these fraudsters is the inadequacy of background screening in an organization. For instance, not verifying your candidates’ educational qualifications caters perfectly to scenarios of degree and certification fraud. The following case of a fake doctor in China is merely one of many examples: In 2019, Luo Ping was jailed for 6 years after raping a female patient in China. During investigations, it was found that he had landed his career as a doctor at the private hospital by using a fraudulent ID, medical license, and practice certificates. His actual background and fake qualifications went unnoticed for years, simply because his employer failed to conduct due diligence checks on him. Along with numerous other incidents that are said to have affected China’s citizens’ confidence in the healthcare system, this has led to public calls for tighter screening measures in China; many users on Weibo, a popular Chinese application, have commented: “What kind of hospital is this?” “Didn’t they check his documents before hiring him?”
It is the responsibility of employers to verify their staff’s previous employment, identity, and educational background (at the bare minimum) to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their patients. As a result of sheer negligence, the hospital that employed Ping not only endured reputational damage (that could have been easily avoided), but they also suffered significant financial loss thereafter. More importantly, the hospital failed to protect their patient from a man they had negligently employed, which resulted in irreversible consequences for the patient and widespread public loss of trust.
In another case, a fake doctor in India received two jail terms of 20 years each earlier this year for raping two women on the pretext of “treating” them. Had the medical institution screened Samay Lal Dewangan’s background, they would have easily uncovered that he had no medical qualifications and consequently would not have hired him. But as long as healthcare organizations continue to be negligent in their hiring, such incidents are bound to occur. In some Asian countries such as Hong Kong, patients in public and private hospitals have the right to know the qualifications, name, and rank of their medical practitioner or healthcare provider. In this case, not screening your prospective nurse or doctor can likely result in providing false information about his/her credentials to your patients, which can prove detrimental to their well-being, especially as lives are at stake.
Due to the high-risk nature of the healthcare industry and the immense trust placed in the practitioners that are responsible for looking after our health, there is a common consensus that employers should continuously ensure their candidates have verified and well-trained backgrounds to provide high-quality patient care. Therefore, it is critical that more medical and healthcare organizations have proper safeguards in place (i.e., establish and conduct sufficient background checks on their employees) to mitigate potential risk consequences.
However, healthcare employers should note that prior to conducting any form of checks, it is recommended to review local legislations and assess whether screening and candidate consent is permitted and/or required in their region. When hiring foreign healthcare workers, you will also need to ensure that you conduct all background checks in accordance with the local laws in the country where your candidate(s) are from. Alternatively, an easier solution would be to partner with a third-party screening expert such as Cisive, that provides enterprise-wide screening coverage and compliance for healthcare organizations around the globe.
Are you evaluating screening solutions for healthcare? Contact us today to learn how we can help implement your screening program.
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