In looking for a job after release, a felon who has experience working in the healthcare industry may want to apply for a job at a hospital. This blog post will cover whether or not hospitals run background checks.
- What Is Included in a Background Check?
- Hospital Background Check on Current Employees
- Hospital Background Check on Job Applicants
- Do Hospitals Run Background Checks on Patients?
- Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
- Tips for Getting a Job at a Hospital
What Is Included in a Background Check?
Employers, like a hospital, review an applicant’s background because they don’t want someone who doesn’t succeed after starting a job. This is considered to be a, “bad hire,” which is someone who:
- Doesn’t produce quality work
- Has a negative attitude
- Doesn’t work well with other employees
- Doesn’t deal well with customers
- Doesn’t have the skills they stated on an application
- Has attendance problems
- Is dishonest on the job
The last question is the biggest challenge for felons. Their criminal history can be a problem when applying at a hospital even if they are now committed to living an honest lifestyle.
An employer may view:
- Credit reports
- Driving records
- Educational records
- Criminal offenses
Background information helps an employer like a hospital to determine a candidate’s:
- Past mistakes
- Financial fitness
This allows an employer to identify hiring risks for security and safety issues for the company.
The criminal record review conducted of a background check includes examining criminal history files for any criminal offenses, which will reveal all convictions and non-convictions, including cases not prosecuted or ones dismissed. Convictions can be reported with no time limit while a non-conviction will show up for seven years. A crime will not show up on a background check, if a felon has his or her record expunged.
Hospital Background Check on Current Employees
There is no legal requirement for hospitals to run background checks on current employees. In order to protect staff and patients, most hospitals run routine background checks on employees. Hospital background checks typically include:
- Criminal history
- Sanction and exclusion screening
- Sex offender registry searches
- License verification
- Verification of previous encourage employment
- Education verification
- Credit checks when applicable
There are significant risks in skipping any portion of the background check with healthcare professionals. In the U.S., 36 states have laws requiring healthcare workers to undergo national security and criminal background checks. While the remaining 14 states do not require it, hospitals are encouraged to screen applicants prior to employment.
Screening laws are usually required in the U.S. for those in occupations with access to medical patients because of privacy issues. Some healthcare agencies and hospitals conducted a screening of current employees every two years to help prevent fraud and protect patients.
Whenever a criminal background check is carried out, a record of that check is sent to the state’s Department of Public Health as well as to the agency requesting the background check.
If state law, regulation, or organization policy requires background checks on all employees, volunteers, and students, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH) expects them to be done on all three categories.
If a state law requires background checks on only specific types of healthcare providers, such as nursing assistants or childcare workers, the Joint Commission would require background checks on only those specified in that state law.
Hospital Background Check on Job Applicants
Typically, the Human Resources department will conduct a background investigation after a conditional job offer has been made. The level of the background investigation will depend on an applicant’s particular job responsibilities. While each hospital may have somewhat different criteria, there are typically three levels of background checks.
Level I is a background check on those employees in basic job positions involving:
- Social Security Number verification
- Criminal search
- Employment verification
- Violent sexual offender and predator registry surge
- List of individuals excluded from federal programs
Level II is a background check, typically for professionals including care givers, finance personnel, and department managers. A background check at this level will include all information from level I as well as the following:
- Education verification
- Professional license verification
- Certification and designations check
- Professional disciplinary actions search
- Department of Motor Vehicle driving history
Level III is for senior level management. A background check at this level will include all information from Level I and II as well as a consumer credit report.
Derogatory information discovered during a background investigation may be considered with all other information known about an applicant, a case-by-case determination may be made for the applicant’s suitability for employment.
An applicant should not hide anything on a criminal report. The screening process is done to rule out applicants with a criminal history will make of the safety of coworkers, patients, and the hospital at risk.
Do Hospitals Run Background Checks on Patients?
This is a complex issue. If law enforcement is specifically requested to be notified if a particular individual is admitted as a patient, then the police will be contacted. If the police are actively searching for someone, they typically keep a constant watch on hospital admission records. Exceptions are:
- Gunshot wounds
- Domestic abuse
- Child abuse
These are cases in which a hospital is required to report to the police.
If someone arrested by the police needs hospital care requiring admission, that person will be placed under arrest and a police guard will stay with them until that person can be moved to a jail.
Hospitals often run credit checks on patients to determine that individual’s ability to pay. The Affordable Care Act in 2006 established this need. A credit report can determine whether the hospital can pursue an unpaid bill. If a patient has a long history of not paying bills or has poor credit history, payments may be less likely to be pursued.
The Consumer Credit Protection Bureau enforces consumer protection laws and regulates how companies like hospitals use credit reporting and collection services. Credit checks are not used to deny non-elective treatment. A best practice often used by a hospital is to get permission for a credit check on the hospital admission form.
Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
Doing a background check on him or herself before applying at a hospital will allow a felon to know exactly what will be discovered when the hospital does its review. A felon with any questions can contact an attorney. It is essential to take action and not risk a chance on the results.
There are different kinds of personal background checks that a felon can run:
- From the court in which he or she was charged
- A credit report will help determine how financially responsible an individual is
- Driving records for any job involving driving, such as a truck driver
- An educational report through the National Student Clearing House
Tips for Getting a Job at a Hospital
Suggestions for a felon to increase his or her chances to be hired at a hospital are:
- Arrive early to practice answers to basic interview questions
- Dress appropriately
- Make a positive first impression on the interviewers
- Show a friendly, courteous, and energetic personality
- Make consistent eye contact with hiring representatives
- Sit with straight posture
- Speak clearly
- Make a case for a new job opportunity
- Emphasize experience and skills related to healthcare
- Be ready to provide a job history with a current resume
- End the interview with a firm handshake
- Express gratitude for the interview opportunity
As a felon, don’t hide the fact that you had a felony conviction if it comes up. Instead, explain the facts about that conviction without being emotional.
It is never a good idea to lie about your past on an application. This could result in not being considered for a job if the hospital finds out about it. Highlight skills and abilities that qualify you for the job. Focus on them during the interview.
Take responsibility for past actions and explain how you’re putting your life in order. Doing your own background check allows you to know what an employer will see on his or her record.
Remember, you’re not defined by your crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but in how we recover from them. The best opportunity for success in a new life begins with having support from family and friends. After all, felons do make good employees.
So what do you think about this blog post about whether or not hospitals run background checks? Have you or someone you know had a hospital run a background check? What was that like and were they successful in being hired? Please tell us in the comments below.