Credentialing means a process of collecting, verifying and evaluating the qualifications and skills of physicians to provide quality care services for a healthcare facility. There are three main components of the process: education and relevant training, current licensure, and current competence, which allows to perform certain procedures and treatments.
Credentialing committees have to deal with credentialing applications daily, but how can a criminal background check complement this process.
Background check and credentialing
Medical staff service is a governing body of a healthcare facility and is responsible for working with independent physicians who serve the hospital. Many physicians appointed to provide services are not actually employed by the hospital, and that’s why human resource department doesn’t perform the background check and verification of provided information. But the credentialing committee does. The background check is an analysis of criminal records, education verifications, professional licensures verification, training verification, and that’s just a few components out of many. For the credentialing committee, the process of granting credentials also includes verification of clean background information. They check peer recommendations, malpractice claims and insurance statuses. The goal is to protect patients from unqualified physicians.
Background check is a risk mitigation tool
While medical service doesn’t perform the same employment activities as the HR department, they perform a thorough background check on all physicians applying for credentials or privileges, since it’s one of the best ways to mitigate risks for the hospital and protect its patients from preventable serious mistakes.
Checking a criminal history (if any) on a physician performing procedures on the patients can save your reputation. While in some states medical board can perform the criminal background check on physicians applying for licensure, not all of them are allowed to do it. However, even if they have the authorization to perform background checks, they may have limited access to different databases. Moreover, medical board may not perform a thorough check and fail to define troubled physicians. So, without a background check, you may overlook some serious records of a criminal history.
One background check may not be enough
Even if the medical board performs a background check on physicians applying for privileges at the hospital, they can’t prove physicians haven’t committed any crimes since then. Even if there is a medical staff office at the hospital and they perform their own check, it shouldn’t be done only once. To reduce risks, the trend in healthcare facilities for constantly performing background checks is emerging. For example, many hospitals re-check the background criminal history every year, to minimize levels of risk for the healthcare facility. Some hospitals perform a re-check of background information every two years, and a lot can happen during this time. As many experts explain, a criminal background check is a snapshot in time – it’s always possible to find something new in future, something that you didn’t find on the first background check performed during the credentialing process.
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