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14 Pre-Employment Background Check Tips for Private Practice Owners

Posted by 99 MGMT on Feb 6, 2018 11:49:02 AM

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Pre-employment background checks are necessary for ensuring patient safety, a safe work environment for other employees in your practice, and a safeguard against compliance issues (HIPAA or otherwise).

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), background checks are used to collect information “bearing on a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.”

While these checks are necessary, they can be easy to mishandle if you’re not familiar with compliance laws. Bumbled background checks can lead to financial and legal conflicts for your practice.

Here are 14 tips to make sure you’re staying compliant while performing background checks.

 

14 Pre-Employment Background Check Tips for Private Practice Owners


  1. A pre-employment background check is different from physician credentialing. You’ll have to cover both during the hiring process.

  2.  Background checks should be performed by a qualified third-party.

  3.  Pre-employment background checks are governed by the FCRA, but there are state mandates as well. So, you have to keep two sets of rules in mind and know your local requirements.

  4.  Any information screened should be relevant to the job. For example, driving records; if the position doesn’t require driving during the course and scope of the job, then you shouldn’t check driving records.

  5.  You MUST obtain written consent to perform a background check as well as disclose in writing your intent to obtain a background check. Both the consent and disclosure must be signed by the applicant.

  6.  Background checks should not be conducted until a conditional offer of employment has been extended and accepted by the candidate.

  7.  Privacy issues around social media checks are a very hot topic. Employers are advised to proceed with caution if electing to conduct a social media check.

  8. Employers could accidentally receive screening results outside the time frame permitted by the state. Generally speaking, if that happens, the employer is required disregard outdated results during evaluation.

  9.  Additional waivers, authorizations, or disclosures for prospective employees should go in a separate document.

  10.  You cannot request information related to protected classes:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Military status
  • Sexual orientation
  1.  Candidates must be notified of results.

  2.  After notifying your candidate of your decision, you must allow a reasonable amount of time  for them to review,challenge, and possibly correct the report.

  3.  You must provide a copy of their background check if requested by the candidate or if they are rejected due to findings in the report.

  4.  You must inform the candidate if their background check contributed to a rejection (also called “adverse action”). Here is the required two-step process:

    • You must provide notice of rejection along with their background check and a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”. This summary of rights should also be given to the candidate prior to conducting the background check.

    • If they don’t challenge their background check within a specific time period, then you should mail a final adverse action letter indicating your rejection of their application

 

Are your pre-employment background checks compliant?

Background checks are nuanced, and this article only contains 14 basic tips. If you’re not already consulting with compliance experts, you should make doing so a priority before your next hire.

After all, hiring new employees should help your private practice grow  - not hurt it!

Check out these additional compliance resources:

What Does At Will Employment Really Mean for Your Private Practice?

13 HIPAA Social Media Guidelines & Online Compliance Tips

4 Social Media HIPAA Violations That Are Shockingly Common

Topics: Operations, Compliance, Liability, HR