Health workers may get background checks

An Indiana proposal would require medical professionals to pass a criminal background check in order to practice in the state.

Stateline Midwest, Volume 19, No. 10 - November 2010

Health care providers in Indiana would be subject to more-stringent background screenings under a proposal released this fall by the chair of the Senate Health Committee.

Sen. Patricia Miller, a Republican from Indianapolis, is calling for all of the state’s 263,000 health professionals, as well as new licensees, to undergo a criminal background check by the FBI. The process, which costs $18, would be paid for by licensees, reports The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Results would be forwarded to the state’s 24 medical licensing boards, which would then decide whether to take action. Under the current proposal, county prosecutors would also be required to alert the state attorney general’s office if someone who is arrested is found in a statewide database of licensed professionals.

Miller, a registered nurse, says the measure would increase patient safety; she will introduce legislation when the session begins in January.

Indiana is one of 14 states (Minnesota and South Dakota are among the others) that do not allow state medical boards to perform background checks, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards. However, many medical facilities already require such checks as a condition of employment.