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Best Practices for Onboarding Clinicians


Even the most seasoned staffing professional or healthcare executive faces challenges when attempting to onboard clinicians. For good reason, clinicians and healthcare professionals directly administering care require additional oversight and qualification verification, as an unqualified clinician could have catastrophic results from both a patient care standpoint and an insurance standpoint. While almost every hospital, convalescent home, or healthcare provider environment is different, especially across state lines, there are typically some best practices your organization can adopt when developing your own onboarding and/or compliance processes.

Of course, utilizing an employer of record (EOR), agency of record (AOR), or workforce management partner can help to navigate the sometimes-tricky onboarding process for clinicians. Additionally, these organizations specialize in risk management for healthcare positions and can relieve your organization of some liabilities associated with contingent clinicians. Because clinicians require additional levels of drug screening, background screening, and credential verification, it is important to conduct these processes in a logical order, and in a timely fashion, to ensure the availability of resources when needed as well as mitigate additional costs that may be involved with these processes.

Common Documentation/Onboarding Requirements for Clinicians

Clinicians not only need to provide qualification of their education, as with any other applicant, but they must also provide a copy of their valid certification, administered by the appropriate governing body in the state where they are practicing. Employers and healthcare contingent workforce suppliers must be aware of all documentation required during pre-employment screening and must maintain all valid documentation in the event of a government audit. Additionally, employers are responsible for ensuring their clinical workforce remains in compliance and that all required certifications and licenses remain valid and do not expire. Keeping an ongoing record of these documentations and renewal dates can be challenging, especially for workers who are not full-time employees of your healthcare organization. An EOR/AOR provider can keep a detailed record of all contingent workers and prospective candidates and their status regarding all required documentation, sometimes using intuitive software with easy-to-view dashboards and checklists.

Generally, a clinician must provide proof of the following documentation:

  • Verification of credentials
  • State-issued license
  • Name and contact information
  • Any client-specific documentation

Additionally, a clinician is typically subject to the following pre-employment screenings:

  • Background screenings – federal, state, local, OIG, SAM, OFAC, Medi-Cal, etc.
  • Drug screening
  • Current physical examination
  • Tuberculosis (TB) clearance
  • Vaccination records
  • Thorough reference checks and work history verification
  • Proficiency exams

Clinician Communication

Because this documentation process can be so extensive and can sometimes take several days/weeks to compile, it is important for your organization’s staff to proactively engage with the clinician and offer support throughout the onboarding process. Simply sending a prospective clinician a checklist of documents to reply with may work for the most experienced of candidates but will fall through the cracks with many others. By picking up the phone and speaking to your prospective employee about their level of understanding around each part of the process can go a long way. It gives clinicians an opportunity to ask questions and to understand the timeline of verifications/screenings that need to occur before their scheduled start date.

Risk Management Guidelines

It is important to understand the risk management guidelines for your organization as well as the required coverages needed for various clinical positions. Not all clinical positions require the same levels of insurance, and it is important to understand, or partner with a firm that understands, the exact coverages required of clinicians in your environment and the legality or full-time or contingent clinicians performing this work. For example, many healthcare contingent staffing firms cannot and do not place doctors, dentists, hospital “Executive Officers” or any employees administering anesthetics, as many professionals in this field require their own personal coverage.

Joint Commission Certification

The Joint Commission (JC) is an independent, (non-government) nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs across the United States. The Joint Commission Accreditation and Certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. By earning this accreditation at your organization or partnering with healthcare staffing firms that have received their Health Care Staffing Services (HCSS) Certification from The Joint Commission, you can add an extra layer of credibility to your organization, which looks great from a patient perspective as well as a prospective employee perspective.

Legislation around the qualifications required by clinicians and medical professionals is evolving at a rapid pace and varies depending on the state or region in question. While the information above can serve as a starting point, it is important to consult the legal code and requirements in your specific region to understand exactly what is needed before a clinician can be hired at your organization legally. If you are considering hiring and onboarding contingent clinicians in 2020, reach out to People2.0 today to understand the new regulations in effect in your state for 2020, as well as forthcoming legislation and the ever-evolving best practices surrounding clinician onboarding. Download the attached one-pager for more information about People2.0’s service offering for clinicians and ways they can help your business improve onboarding processes.

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