When Should You Perform a Sanction Check – and Why?

Sanction Check

Checking for sanctions is one of the most important ways a medical practice can be sure they’re hiring the right people for their needs. In order to protect payments from federal entities like Medicare and Medicaid, practices have to avoid hiring anyone who may have active sanctions against them from these entities. That would stop the entire practice from getting funding, which could be a big problem for helping patients. Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid that. It all starts with making sure there aren’t active sanctions.

The Value of a Sanction Check

For any medical practice looking to hire new employees, a sanction check should always be performed. That way, there’s no risk to the medical practice or the patients that practice sees. When you choose to have this kind of check, which is also called an OIG background check, you can find out whether a potential job candidate has any active or past sanctions against them. These sanctions come from the US Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General, and are kept up to date.

Because your patients and medical practice are valuable to you, you’ll definitely want to consider a sanction check on anyone who’s applying to work with you. This check will help you avoid potential problems, and keep you in compliance with the requirements for federal medical aid programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

It will also help reduce the risk of hiring someone who may have healthcare-related legal or ethical issues in their past. That can include things like the neglect or abuse of a patient, theft or other financial crimes that are healthcare-related, or a conviction for fraud in the Medicare or Medicaid system. Knowing that your potential candidate doesn’t have any of those things in their past can help you move forward with hiring them and making them a part of your team.

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What a Sanction Check Tells You

A sanction check gives you plenty of good information about a medical professional who’s applied to work at your practice. Not only will you learn if the person has an active or past sanction against them, but you’ll also find out who took the disciplinary action and, in some cases, what it was for. Not all sanctions provide that option, but it’s available in many cases. You can also see when the sanction ended if it’s no longer active, so you can make a determination as to whether you want to hire the person or not.

Sanction checks are a vital way to see if there are any concerns that have to be addressed, or whether you would be better off choosing a different medical professional for the open positions you have at your practice. Since Medicare and Medicaid involve federal funding, you’ll need to avoid hiring a sanctioned candidate if you want to continue working with those programs and receiving their funding. With a sanction check, you’ll get information from the OIG Exclusion list and the System for Award Management (SAM). That can give you all the information you need to make the right hiring decision.

So, When is Really the Best Time

A sanction check should always be performed before a medical professional is hired, and ideally, before an offer of employment is extended. That way, it’s easier to make a good determination as to whether a person should be hired by the practice. Hiring them and then performing the check isn’t a good idea, because having them work before the check comes back could put the practice and its patients at potential risk. Performing the background check should be one of the first things a medical practice does.

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There are fines for practices that hire people with active sanctions, and a practice doesn’t want to get into trouble and have to pay out a lot of money. Rather than take the risk, it’s much easier to move through the hiring process in the right order, so the background check can be concluded before your medical practice makes a hiring offer to any or all candidates who are applying to work with them. Not only does that provide more protection, but it allows for a lot more peace of mind, as well.

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