Contrary to popular belief, the system for regulating, licensing and disciplining doctors in the United States is considered largely inadequate.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) provides background screening services specializing in the hospital, nursing home and healthcare provider industries. ESR helps healthcare providers to promote safe and caring environments. Healthcare providers are concerned with patient safety which often includes at risk and vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and people with special needs. ESR is uniquely suited to support the unique needs of healthcare providers and the environments in which their employees work. In addition to ESR’s standard background screening services, healthcare provider solutions include:
Background Checks and Working with Vulnerable Populations
Each year, about 2,000 doctors nationwide are the subject of state medical board disciplinary actions on such grounds as gross negligence, incompetence, sexual abuse, moral unfitness, fraud, professional misconduct, practicing while impaired or failure to disclose a prior state disciplinary action. In addition, fraudulent claims concerning qualifications and licenses are not uncommon.
There is no one place where a medical organization can turn to get definitive information. Medical boards in each state that handle discipline do not have uniform procedures. Many states lack the staff or funding to seriously pursue complaints. Investigations can drag on for years, during which time the provider can continue to practice and the public may not know a complaint is pending. In some states, where a worker voluntarily surrenders his or her license, that "plea bargain" is not reported to the Federation of Medical Boards (the national organization for state medical boards), and the individual is able to relocate to another state and establish a new practice. Locating malpractice actions is also limited. Although some medical providers have access to the United States Department of Health and Human Service National Practitioner Databank, even that system is not foolproof.
To adequately screen healthcare candidates, a number of different and sometimes overlapping approaches are needed to ensure a comprehensive inquiry that reasonably prevents missed information.
ESR Supports Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) Compliance
Effective January 1, 2006, the Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization or JCAHO) required that hospitals and covered health care entities conduct Primary Source Verification (PSV) on all licensed, registered, or certified staff. The rule applies to both employees and contract staff and also applies to the process of tracking license renewals as well.
For hospitals and covered health care organizations, there is a logistical challenge in obtaining, tracking, updating and maintaining an audit trail for all employees who are required to be licensed, registered or certified. Licenses are typically checked when an employee is first hired, but covered entities must now verify the information from the primary source, track expiration and manage the process of updating records from the primary source in order to be in compliance.
To help hospitals and covered entities comply, ESR’s proprietary solution manages and tracks the entire process in accordance with the standards. ESR generates automatic reports on all employees and contractors with licenses that are expiring. ESR provides tools to conduct license verification for the primary source and to track all current and past licensees. During a JCAHO audit, all necessary information demonstrating compliance with the Primary Source Verification rule is instantly available.
ESR helps healthcare organizations to achieve safe work environments against bad hiring decisions of dishonest, unqualified, unfit or dangerous workers that can lead to negligent hiring lawsuits, fines, and criminal charges.