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New Study Reveals Top Three Gaps in Healthcare Screening Programs

According to a new study conducted by SafestHires, which examined background screening trends in the healthcare industry, a majority of respondents (56%) believed that background screening improves the quality of hire. Nearly half (44%) felt that background screening improves regulatory compliance; 40% believe it improves safety and security; 24% say it reduces negligent hiring risk; and 17% believe it contributes to a better reputation.

Healthcare professionals understand that hiring people who pose a risk to patient and employee safety can result in fines, lawsuits, and reputation damage. However, more than two thirds of those surveyed revealed three gaps in healthcare screening programs which could be increasing their risk.

Medical Sanction Checking Practices Could Be Improved

Most organizations check state and federal sources to confirm their applicants and employees are free of medical sanctions. To check sanctions, 62% use only the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/ Entities while 38% check federal exclusion lists and state Medicaid lists. When it comes to monitoring existing employees, 84% check for sanctions as required, followed by 16% who check more often.

The Fraud and Abuse Control Information System (FACIS) is a current and historical database of healthcare related sanctions, exclusions, debarments and disciplinary actions at the state and federal levels. The data available from FACIS is unique in that sanctions records are not written over or expunged once the issue has been resolved. Because the FACIS database contains so much information, any analyst who uses this data must apply critical thinking skills when compiling a file. In other words, the FACIS search should only be utilized by trained professionals. The average FACIS response includes the following:

– The issuing body

– The determination date

– The general findings

– A reference for additional data

FACIS Levels

FACIS is separated into four levels that allow you to screen employees and vendors against different primary sources for exclusions, debarments, sanctions, and disciplinary actions.FACIS Search 2

FACIS Level 1 meets the federal government’s minimum requirements as outlined in the OIG’s Compliance Program Guidance and includes: OIG, GSA, DEA, FDA, PHS, ORI, TRICARE and OFAC-SDN data (federal only) and Medicare Opt-Out.

FACIS Level 1M is the recommended baseline and minimally required compliance search for candidates employed by organizations receiving government funding. It includes: FACIS Level 1 plus State Medicaid sanctions, 42 HEAT sources and 51 AG Notice and Release sources, and state level procurement/contractor debarment sources.

FACIS Level 2 brings into focus a specified state and includes: FACIS Level 1 / 1M as well as additional state-level board / source information for one specified state.

FACIS Level 3 is the gold standard of sanction and exclusionary searches and includes: All sources included in FACIS 1 / 1M / 2 and the sanctioning boards from all 56 U.S. jurisdictions across all provider types. This accesses more than 3,000 sources.

Extended Workforce Screening Practices Fall Short

While 98% of those surveyed screen candidates before they are hired as employees, many in the extended workforce, including temporary workers, volunteers, and vendors are not being screened. About 60% check contingent or temporary workers; 46% check volunteers, and only 13% screen vendors. When background checks aren’t being performed on the extended workforce, everyone’s safety – and the organization’s reputation – is at risk.

Screening Program Reviews Should Happen More Often

About 80% of those responding review their screening program once a year. Screening program reviews require a substantial investment of time and effort, but the return is worth it . Unfortunately, 21% perform reviews less frequently. With laws and regulations being updated every year, organizations should evaluate their screening programs at least annually as a best practice, and may wish to do so following any major changes to laws or regulations. For example, an examination of recent EEOC rulings and state laws regarding marijuana legalization could justify a mid-year evaluation.

Mid-year reviews will also create opportunities to refamiliarize your team with Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements. Even the smallest changes to screening practices that depart from these requirements could make the program non-compliant. This is especially important when screening responsibilities are decentralized. 

To learn how SafestHires can help you improve your healthcare screening program, schedule a call with us using the button below.

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