4 min read

Why continuous background screening is important in Healthcare

Featured Image

Background checks help businesses mitigate risk to create a safer workplace and protect it from negligent hiring lawsuits. However, Pre-employment background checks represent a snapshot in time.

Without post-hire screening, you may not be aware of any criminal charges, loss of license that may cause litigation, injuries, or severe harm to your business's reputation and integrity.

Continuous background screening can help reduce workplace risk and create a safer environment for clients and employees by alerting you to potential criminal activity in real-time throughout the duration of employment. Continuous screening is essential for healthcare companies because their employees or volunteers work closely with patients, children, seniors, or directly with the broader public.

For example, an employee arrested for a violent crime or substance abuse may not be fit to work with vulnerable patients and controlled substances.

Here are three reasons healthcare companies should implement a continuous background screening program.

1. Keep your patients safe

Continuously background screening employees and contractors can help identify those individuals with adverse information who may pose a safety risk to your patients. 

2. Maintain regulatory compliance 

Healthcare providers and organizations must maintain compliance with relevant Federal health care laws and regulations. Employers are held responsible for having programs and policies to ensure they do not employ or contract with excluded or sanctioned individuals.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) prohibits healthcare companies from hiring anyone sanctioned from participating in federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Comprehensive, ongoing sanctions checks can help prevent your organization from being sanctioned, losing accreditation, or being excluded from participating in federal and state health programs.

3. Avoid criminal and civil penalties

Recently a skilled nursing facility paid over $143,000 in penalties for employing an excluded individual who provided services billed to Federal healthcare programs. 

The Department of Health and Human Services OIG has the authority to exclude providers and entities from Federally funded health care programs if they are convicted of criminal offenses such as 

  • Medicare or Medicaid fraud. 

  • Delivery of items or services under Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, or other State health care programs.

  • Patient abuse or neglect. 

  • Felony convictions for other healthcare-related fraud.

  • Financial misconduct. 

  • Felony convictions relating to illegally manufacturing, distributing, prescribing, or dispensing controlled substances. 

Anyone who hires an excluded individual or entity may be subject to civil monetary penalties (CMP). To avoid CMP liability, health care companies should perform continuous monitoring of healthcare sanctions to ensure that new hires and current employees are not on the list.

Which checks should be included in a healthcare continuous background screening program?


Global Watch

The global watch identifies whether a candidate is listed on any domestic and/or international watchlists. This includes international, government, and regulatory databases to identify individuals prohibited from specific industries, such as healthcare and finance, or are on criminal lists.
• Includes: OIG, FDA, OFAC, and GSA

FACIS

Fraud and Abuse Control Information System is a proprietary database that comprises publicly available records of sanctions and adverse actions taken in the healthcare field.

Office of Inspector General List of Excluded Individuals/Entities 

The List of Excluded Individuals/Entities is a database of individuals and entities that may not receive payment by specified federal healthcare programs (including but not limited to Medicare & Medicaid).

The basis for an individual or entity to be included in the LEIE list includes but is not limited to program-related fraud, patient abuse, some licensing board actions, default on Health Education Assistance Loans. 

Federal Drug Administration Debarment List

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Debarment List service searches the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This search identifies individuals convicted of a felony under federal law for conduct relating to any drug product's development or approval or otherwise relating to any drug product under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic.

General Services Administration Excluded Parties List 

The Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) is a single comprehensive list of individuals and firms excluded by federal government agencies from receiving federal contracts or federally approved subcontracts and from certain types of federal financial and non-financial assistance benefits.

How to get started with your healthcare continuous background screening program 

As an employer, you must determine if you will take a reactive or proactive approach in protecting your organization from risk.  Implementing a comprehensive continuous background screening program can provide peace-of-mind, knowing your workforce and patients are safe and compliant with healthcare industry standards.

Orange Tree designed ConstantConnect™, our advanced monitoring platform to help employers meet their ongoing, post-hire screening needs. We can help ensure your continuous backgroud screening program fully complies with Federal, State, and local rules and regulations.

Ready to create a continuous monitoring policy that fits your business needs?

Schedule a call with us today.