Background Checks: More Restrictions, New Challenges

The need for background checks is clear, but the type of checks health care providers can conduct and how that information is used is less clear.

Every health care provider knows that it is critically important to conduct thorough background checks on applicants for patient care positions, as well as existing staff, contractors, and temporary workers. Hospitals and health care systems are compelled by law, hospital policy, and organizations like The Joint Commission to ensure that patients are safe and well cared-for by qualified staff.

While the need to conduct background checks is clear, the type of background checks health care providers are permitted to conduct and how the resulting information can be used is growing considerably murkier. States are increasingly passing laws designed to limit what types of information employers can use to make decisions about applicants and employees.

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