Lawsuit reveals failures in hospital hiring practices

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

St. Petersburg Times reporter Curtis Krueger’s story about a successful whistleblower suit against a Florida hospital provides a powerful storyline about how disciplined health care workers continue to get hired. Here, he skips the government agencies and state databases and looks at communication between the hospitals themselves.

After all, don’t hospitals consult references and do background checks when hiring new doctors and nurses? In the corporate world of major hospitals, the answer is apparently “yes, but it doesn’t seem to do any good.”

… in general, (Beth Hardy, a spokeswoman for Morton Plant Mease Hospitals) said, if a hospital calls seeking information about a former employee, the company will simply confirm the worker’s dates of employment and last position held. She said that is “a standard and accepted policy across a lot of large organizations.”

The whistleblower suit itself, which resulted in a $450,000 award, involved a nursing supervisor who was fired soon after she criticized nurse Bernard M. Moran for falsifying records, a practice which got him fired at a previous job. Moran now works at another area hospital, one which says it checks the disciplinary records of all new hires.

The story only came to light because of the lawsuit. To understand just how many blind eyes were turned toward Moran’s behavior during this series of events, just take a look at Krueger’s story.

(Hat tip to Health News Florida)

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