Health Workforce Research Alert: Background Checks and the Health Workforce

Background Checks and the Health Workforce: Practices, Policies, and Equity
Dunlap B, Basye A, Skillman SM

Background checks are intended to ensure a quality workforce, but they may also exclude qualified workers. Though these background checks may appear straightforward, they rely on information from a variety of sources, and are governed by a complex regulatory environment. Various laws, industry norms, and court precedents shape what background information is gathered and/or maintained.

This report examines why and how background checks on the health workforce are used; the broad variation of laws, regulations, and policies that govern them; their potential misuse; and ways to use background checks to help ensure patient safety while supporting health workforce development.

This report was produced by the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies. For additional information and resources, visit:

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