- Criminal and civil court records for criminal convictions, arrests and lawsuits;
- Motor vehicle records and driver record status;
- The National Practitioner Data Bank for malpractice cases and medical board sanctions;
- Medicare sanction list of the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
- Social Security number; and
- Sex offender and terrorist databases.
Some investigations will include credit checks, which can cover credit payment history, bankruptcies, tax liens and accounts placed into collections.
Explore This IssueJuly 2013
It is illegal during a background check to search for information related to a job candidate’s race, age, religion, sexual orientation or any other protected category under the federal Civil Rights Act, said Cheryl Slack, vice president of human resources at Brentwood, Tenn.-based Cogent Healthcare.
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, it also is illegal for a third-party consumer-reporting agency to perform an employment background check in secret, said Rosen. The applicant must authorize the check by signing a standalone disclosure form, he added. For the rare health care organizations that do their background checks in house, most will seek consent.
Disclosure Is Crucial
Otolaryngologist job candidates should do whatever they can to make sure the people in charge of hiring aren’t surprised
by what turns up in a background check, the experts say. “Nothing is more frustrating than finding out there is a problem late in the application process,” said Lary.
Otolaryngologists should inform the references they list on their resumes that they could be contacted. Such a “heads up” often gives a reference time to organize their thoughts about the job applicant and provide the best possible recommendation.
“You would be shocked at how many references are surprised to learn the [physician] is looking for a job or how many applicants give as references people who don’t like them personally or professionally,” Lary said. “There are even times when physicians will take a pass on a reference. That speaks volumes.”
The most important thing a candidate should know is if there is something negative in their background that could be professionally damaging if discovered. Said Rosen, it is best to make the people hiring aware of the information. Those who disclose past issues are in a much better position to explain the situation and show how they have cleaned up a messy situation.
Reprinted with permission from the Society of Hospital Medicine.