What is a Medical Background Check, and Why is it Important?

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What is a Medical Background Check, and Why is it Important?

Healthcare employees are in a unique position of responsibility and trust. This requires an equal amount of care in choosing and hiring for these important positions. This is where a medical background check comes in.

These medical background checks are designed to focus on the specific areas of concern, such as a history of malpractice and federal exclusions, as well as provide a comprehensive employment screening. So, let’s take a look at what medical background checks are and why they are so important for employers and all of their patients.

Why Are Medical Background Checks Important for Healthcare Workers?

There are many reasons why medical background checks are so, important but let’s focus on the most important reasons. First, you may not know this, but the cost of malpractice suits is going up. Clearly, one of the best ways to avoid this happening to you is to avoid hiring otherwise potential candidates who have a history of malpractice or similar mistakes.

In addition to malpractice, healthcare workers can harm your organization in other ways; one of the most common is indiscretion. If your employees disclose a patient’s protected health information indiscriminately, you may be held liable. By running a medical background check, you can ensure that not only is your hire is free from a history of malpractice but also that the rest of their record is excellent

Perhaps the most important reason medical background checks are so important for healthcare workers is because of their role as caretakers. Healthcare workers are often trusted to care for those who cannot do so themselves. By choosing the wrong person, you could put all your patients at risk. By running medical background checks, you can be sure there is no history of abuse to worry about.

What Is Included in Medical Background Checks?

The exact requirements for a medical background check depend on both the position being applied for as well as the provider. Many companies cut corners and provide fewer checks than are necessary to get a complete picture of the candidate. Make sure to choose a skilled employment screening provider who can perform at least the following.

Identity Verification

This check will confirm your candidate is who they say they are. Additionally, it will confirm that future steps are performed on the correct person.

National Criminal Database Search

A national criminal database search draws information from hundreds of millions of records to locate criminal records anywhere in the country. This search includes thousands of distinct jurisdictions and databases across all states, territories, and the District of Columbia.

National Sex Offender Search

A national sex offender search will pull information from the registries of every state, territory, and the District of Columbia to search for any records of conviction or guilty pleas for a sex crime. This is an essential part of the medical background check for healthcare workers. 

These workers often must regularly come in contact with children and other vulnerable patients, and with more than 750,000 registered sex offenders in America, today caution is necessary.

Drug Testing

Though a regular part of many pre-employment screenings, this step is more important for the healthcare industry than nearly any other. After all, healthcare workers regularly have access to prescription drugs. Unfortunately, substance abuse is a particularly common problem among healthcare workers, so a drug screening is critical to potentially expose any issues.

Employment and Education Verification

In the healthcare industry, it is particularly important to be certain your employees know what they’re doing. Most of the time, this requires some amount of education and prior experience.

This is where education and employment verification comes in. This will guarantee your candidates are actually qualified for the position. Additionally, it will inform you if the applicant has previously been terminated due to negligence or other mistakes.

Government Exclusion Search

This step will show you if a candidate has previously been prohibited from participating in government healthcare programs. This has the benefit of potentially identifying employees who have previously engaged in fraud or abuse of funds as well. However, most importantly, this search is critical to ensure your organization is capable of receiving federal funds from programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Take Care to Conduct Your Background Check Legally

There are several laws guiding how background checks can be performed, so here are some of the most important details you need to know to run the process correctly.

  • Explain: You need to clearly inform the candidate that you are going to be running a background check. Both list and explain each type of check you intend to perform
  • Receive Consent: You must receive signed consent from the candidate to perform a background check. Make sure the consent form does not contain anything else on it.
  • Allow Explanations: Once the background check is completed, there may be findings that result in adverse action. However, before making any decisions, you must allow the applicant to dispute or explain findings. Remember to only consider findings that are directly related to the job when considering employment decisions
  • Choose a Reputable Provider: There are many employment screening providers out there, but it’s important to choose a skilled provider who can perform the best check for your industry. Pre-Employ is one of the best providers of medical background checks with nearly thirty years of experience in the industry.


Trust is critical in the healthcare industry, where vulnerable patients are trusting you with their lives and health. You owe it to yourself, your employees, and your patients to make sure you can trust the workers you hire. Make sure you are performing the correct medical background checks and receiving them from a provider you can trust.

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For more information on medical background checks and to request a free quote, contact us today.