About fifteen years ago, I wrote that the three occupational groups that, at least in my opinion, did the least amount of careful background and reference checking were health care, banking, and public education. Because of the number of high profile cases involving people in all three occupational areas who have been caught doing things they shouldn’t, that assessment is no longer true. There has been a dramatic upswing in the number of hospitals, banks, and schools that have recognized the importance of screening the people they hire. I can’t begin to recite all the school corporations, both public and private, that have started using us to check everybody who’s going to have any contact at all with their students. The same is true of hospitals and banks.
Once, I wrote, “What, after all, is more important to each of us than our health, our financial security, and the safety of our children?” While that statement is just as true today as it was when I first wrote it, I’ve seen a dramatic upswing in the number of employers in all three categories that apparently have recognized the need not only to insure the safety of their patients, students, or money, but also to protect themselves against allegations of negligent hiring!
The one area where pre-employment screening is still the exception and not the rule is private long-term care providers and in-home health care providers. The turnover among employees who do the least desirable jobs is still higher than in most other healthcare occupations. These people, nevertheless, still have easy access to those who, in many instances, are least able to care for themselves. The question I asked back then must still be addressed, “Is it important to know more about the people employed in our health care, banking, and public education systems, or is it okay to know less?” The overall situation is significantly better than it was, but there’s still room for improvement.
So, before taking an aged parent to a long-term care facility or hiring someone to stop by the house every afternoon to make sure an elderly parent is taking his or her medicine, it probably would be a good idea to ask what sort of background checks are conducted on all the people they hire.