Should You Run Healthcare Sanction Checks On All Your Candidates?

Should You Run Healthcare Sanction Checks On All Your Candidates?
  • Opening Intro -

    A healthcare sanction screening goes through thousands of databases with federal and state entries on health sanctions, exclusions, debarments, and disciplinary action against healthcare practitioners (doctors, surgeons, nurses, etc.) and entities (medical businesses).


Understanding Healthcare Sanctions

A healthcare or medical sanction is a disciplinary action placed on a healthcare practitioner and/or the healthcare entity (hospital, dental clinic, nursing home) by a state medical board.

State Medical Boards register, license, and monitor health workers. These licensing boards build public trust in the healthcare system by enforcing stringent rules and guidelines on healthcare practitioners and entities.

If a patient or any interested person accuses a doctor of professional misconduct (like giving wrong prescriptions), the state medical board will investigate, hold hearings and determine the best disciplinary action. It could be a mild disciplinary action, like a reprimand or probation and rehabilitation period. And at the worst, the state medical board can revoke the practitioner’s license.

A healthcare sanction check digs into a practitioner’s medical background and history to uncover any previous disciplinary action before you hire him/her.

Medical Negligence Liability

Although physicians can’t save all lives, they must deliver their full expertise to protect all lives. Medical negligence is when a healthcare practitioner offers substandard medical care that an equally skilled doctor would not provide in the same circumstances.

When a pregnant woman decides to deliver in your hospital, she expects your doctors, nurses, and other aids in the delivery room to bring all their skills and knowledge to the table. More so, she expects that your health workers will not do anything to harm her life or her baby’s life.

If during the delivery the doctor realizes that she needs an emergency C-Section but delays the procedure to the point that the baby suffers an injury, she has every right to sue your hospital for negligence.

Negligence is a civil wrong often remedied by awarding damages (money).

The Consumer Protection Act, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), and other state licensing boards protect healthcare consumers from substandard, negligent, or wrong medical care.

The wronged mother can submit a complaint to a state medical board or seek compensation through a Consumer Protection Act litigation.

To win a medical negligence case, she only needs to prove these facts:

  • The existence of a relationship with the doctor.
  • The hospital was in a capacity to provide appropriate standard care.
  • The doctor provided substandard care.
  • The doctor’s negligence injured the baby.

Corporate Negligence

The mom in our example can sue the hospital under corporate negligence for the doctor’s delay that caused the baby’s injury.

Under the doctrine of corporate negligence, the health entity (i.e. employer) is liable for the employee’s (i.e. health practitioners) mistakes. It began in 1991 when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Nason Hospital was liable for Mrs. Thompson’s paralysis. See more details on the Thompson V. Nason Hospital case.

Every small and large medical business that hires incompetent or unqualified doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other employees is liable for the employee’s mistakes.

Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability is yet another legal doctrine that holds employers liable to their employees’ mistakes if they occur during the employee’s course of duty. Under the vicarious liability doctrine, your medical business is liable for the mistakes made by contractual health workers during duty.

Healthcare sanction checks are a proactive approach to medical negligence liability.

The List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE)

Healthcare entities are responsible for screening their new hires and current practitioners against the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE).

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The OIG maintains a regularly updated list of healthcare practitioners and entities excluded from federal healthcare programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Additionally, the OIG prohibits healthcare facilities from hiring any sanctioned and excluded individuals.

Any health facility that employs an excluded practitioner (knowingly or unknowingly) is liable to Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) that can cost your medical business up to $10,000.

Healthcare Sanction Checks: How to Find Out Your Doctor’s Disciplinary Record

It is recommended that healthcare facilities screen their prospective and current employees, physicians and other health practitioners, and contractors against exclusion lists and sanction lists to avoid hiring any ineligible candidates.

Ineligible candidates are healthcare practitioners who are under disciplinary action like exclusion from federal healthcare programs, or suspension and candidates convicted of criminal offenses in the healthcare system like Medicaid fraud.

A medical sanction screening shows you if your candidate is sanctioned, who placed the sanction, why the candidate was sanctioned, and when the sanction ends (if ever).

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