What background screening tests are essential in pharmacy hiring process?

September 30, 2014

Independent retail pharmacies must conduct criminal background checks on new hires and established employees along with regular, random drug testing, according to one expert.

Ruben PadroIt is essential that independent retail pharmacies conduct criminal background checks on new hires and established employees along with regular, random drug testing, according to one expert.

“Many pharmacy owners have to wear so many hats…that some don’t do any [background] screenings at all. At least when there is turnover, they should do background screens,” said Ruben Padro, director of global security and manager of the drug testing program at Cardinal Health.

After pharmacies have offered jobs to applicants, they should conduct several background checks through their credit reporting agency. Some of the tests that should be considered include: Criminal felony and misdemeanor screening, education report, employment verification check, Federal criminal check, Healthcare Sanctions check, a national criminal database search, social security number trace and validation, and motor vehicle record (MVR) check, according to Padro.

For current employees, a Healthcare Sanctions check is one of the most important screenings that pharmacies can conduct. “That check would reveal if any of their staff employees have sanctions against them from doing business with Medicare,” Padro said. If it is discovered later that an employee had Medicare sanctions against them, “that pharmacy could stand to lose Medicare business, which could be catastrophic for certain pharmacies that do a lot of Medicare business,” Padro said.

The General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General recommends Healthcare Sanctions screenings on current employees monthly.

 

Drug testing is another important employee screening procedure that is sorely lacking among independent pharmacies. Padro recommends random drug testing of current employees quarterly or once every six months.

The most reliable drug test for employees is the hair follicle method, according to Padro. “We recommend hair testing because, while urine is perfectly accurate, it tends to miss drug use because of the detection window. With urine, any substance you ingest will show up in your urine for a week or two after ingestion. With hair, it will stay in the hair for as long as three months,” Padro said.

While hair follicle drug testing can cost twice as much as urine tests, it ensures that employees are not “beating” the test, as is possible with urine testing, he added.