College Essay Examples

False Credentials of Health Care Personnel


In our increasingly litigious society, even the tiniest mistake can cost a health institution millions of dollars. Health organizations are becoming targets of lawsuits due to failure to corroborate the professional credentials of employees and staff. This a big problem in smaller organizations as their limitations in staffing and time decrease the possibility of a thorough background check (Dyer, 2017). 

Purpose of Paper

This assignment aims to raise awareness of the need for proper credentialing and frequent evaluation of physicians and nurses by Human Resource Managers to ascertain that they can do their job correctly (Hackler, 1976). Darling (Plaintiff) vs. Charleston Community Hospital (Defendant) establishes the need for hospitals to verify their staff (Wiet, 2005). The credentialing process ensures that patients get quality care from qualified health care providers (Dyer, 2017). 

The Chosen Topic

The topic that I have chosen is False Credentials of Health Care Personnel. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of cases of job candidates having falsified their credentials. In addition, the forging of certificates by health care personnel puts patients at risk(Dyer, 2017). 

Applicable Federal/State Laws

For physicians and nurses to legally practice, they need education, titles, and active licensure to provide health services. Forging documents relating to these requirements constitutes the falsifying of credentials (Dyer, 2017). The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 protects patients from incompetent healthcare providers by requiring hospital facilities to relay any disadvantageous actions taken by physicians. It also protects hospitals from liability. The National Practitioners Data Bank, created by federal laws, protects the public and decreases health care fraud by requiring hospitals to report adverse actions by health care providers and medical malpractice settlements. It acts as a flagging system; therefore, hospitals and other institutions can ask for this information (Colantonio,1988). Some states have passed laws to prohibit employment credential falsification. For example, Washington State classifies the use of such credentials as a gross misdemeanor and the issuance of falsified certificates as a Class C felony (Lee, 2005). The False Claim Act of 1986 aims to protect, detect and prevent fraud. The use of falsified credentials is fraud because one knowingly makes false claims for payment (Mattie & Ben-Chitrit, 2009)

The Specifically Targeted Employee Group and Specific Health Services Setting

The employee targeted with information is the human resource manager in the human resource office, actively recruiting medical staff in a health care facility. I have chosen the human resource managers because of their role in recruiting candidates, screening applicants, and coordinating with other senior administrators to determine who gets the job. The human resource manager and his/her department also work with the hospital lawyers to steer clear of situations where the hospital violates health-related laws or patients’ rights. In addition, the department ensures the facility complies with the state and federal laws (Milsop, 1991).

Conducting Background Checks

 One of the responsibilities of human resource managers is to conduct proper background checks (Lee, 2005).  The misrepresentation of credentials is a big dilemma for current employers who need to employ only the best for job positions. Potential employees can also provide false references (Hackler, 1976). First, background checks enable employers to confirm that the candidate is qualified for the job. Employing doctors without it puts patients at risk and is wrong (Dyer, 2017). Second, without a proper background check, one cannot establish the honesty and integrity of the candidate. A fabrication during the hiring process can be a sign of a future problem. Third, lack of due diligence during hiring leaves the facility open to liability (Hackler, 1976). The hospital has to deal with a physician or nurse whose performance is poor. Poor performance negatively impacts the reputation of the hospital. The company will have to incur extra costs after the termination of the said employee. Finally, the relationship and trust that existed with patients may be affected (Levashina & Campion, 2009). Negligent hiring occurs when an employer fails to screen a worker properly, and the worker causes harm to someone else, especially if they are not qualified (Mattie & Ben-Chitrit, 2009). According to the Washington State law, if one is charged with a misdemeanor, they can be asked to pay a fine or jailed for at most one year. The specific real-life case of failing in this responsibility (Lee, 2005). Johnson v. Misericordia Community Hospital, where the plaintiff claimed that a surgical procedure had left him with artery and nerve damage, causing paralysis of his right thigh muscles. In his employment documents, the physician had stated that he had orthopedic privileges at his previous hospital. However, the hospital had failed to investigate his qualifications. In addition, the hospital did not contact any of his references. A proper investigation should have shown that the previous employer had revoked the physician’s privileges before (Davenport III, 1983).

Termination of Employees with False Credentials

The human resource manager has a responsibility to terminate employees they discover to have presented false credentials during recruitment (Platt,1992). Unfortunately, human resource managers tend to retain such employees because they have no time to find replacements. They are trying to avoid conflict or are friendly and have issues with hurting their feelings (Pardon & Kleiner, 2000). Employers who retain employees who have misrepresented their credentials can be subject to negligent retention claims (Platt,1992). For these claims, one has to proves that the employer failed to fire an employee who rightfully deserved it. Failure to fire an incompetent employee will harm the company culture, and it sends a negative message to the other employees who have rightfully earned their spot on the team. In addition, every day that the employee is kept on, there is the risk of harm to patients (Davenport III, 1983). The human resource manager must also forward that information to the National Practitioners Data Bank or risk losing liability as per Title IV (Pardon & Kleiner, 2000). In Kladstrup v. Westfall Health Care Center, Inc, a plaintiff was subjected to non-consensual sexual contact by a nurse employed at the Health Care Center. The court pointed out that another patient had reported unspecified acts before the incident, which the employer should have investigated. Therefore, the employer was liable for negligent retention, and the plaintiff won the case (Levashina & Campion, 2009).

Ensuring Candidates Complete Job Applications.

The human resource manager is required to ensure that candidates feel job applications entirely during the recruitment process. The employee should verify that the information provided is accurate and confirm that misleading information could lead to rejection or future job termination no matter when discovered.Human resource managers must confirm that information on applications is valid, not just during applications but also during evaluations(Levashina & Campion2009).  Failure to perform frequent assessments could lead to increased medical errors (Lee, 2005). Without evaluations, it impossible to find those incompetent employees. Incompetent doctors and nurses are a risk to patient safety. Verifying certificates with education institutions and licensing boards is a legal requirement. Failure to do so leaves an institution open to liability claims (Pardon & Kleiner, 2000).  Johnson v. Misericordia Community Hospital, the doctor, partly filled his application and did not answer any malpractice questions. Even when he was promoted to the Chief of Staff, the human resource manager at St. Misericordia Community Hospital failed to investigate his statements. If the human resource manager had done this, then they would have noted his incompetence. The doctor was also promoted without an evaluation as required by company policy. Therefore, the hospital was liable for corporate negligence (Davenport III, 1983).


The human resource manager is responsible to employers and the patients to ensure that only qualified physicians and nurses are employed. This fulfillment of this responsibility requires proper background checks, firing staff who mispresent their credentials, and ensuring that potential employees fill their applications with the correct information and are aware of the consequences of failing to do so. The results of failing to do so include liability for negligence and risk of injury or even death to patients. Lack of competency among hospital employees leads to inefficiency, mistrust, and decreased morale of competent individuals. For more information on this issue, read Corporate Negligence: Defining the Duty Owned by Hospitals to Their Patients by Milsop (Milsop, 1991) and New Developments Concerning Negligent Retention by Pardon & Kleiner ( Pardon & Kleiner, 2000).  


Colantonio, M. A. (1988). The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 and Its Impact on Hospital Law. W. Va. L. Rev., 91, 91.

Davenport III, G. (1983). Johnson v. Misericordia Community Hospital: Corporate Liability of Hospitals Arrives in Wisconsin. Wis. L. Rev., 453.

Dyer, C. (2017). Bogus doctor jailed a second time for using fake credentials.

Hackler, E. T. (1976). Expansion of Health Care Providers’ Liability: An Application of Darling to Long-Term Health Care Facilities. Conn. L. Rev.9, 462.

Lee, B. A. (2005). Who are you: Fraudulent credentials and background checks in academe. JC & UL, 32, 655.

Levashina, J., & Campion, M. A. (2009). Expected practices in background checking: Review of the human resource management literature. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal21(3), 231-249.

Mattie, A., & Ben-Chitrit, R. (2009). The Federal False Claims Act and qui tam actions: What every healthcare manager should know. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues12(2), 49.

Milsop, M. E. (1991). Corporate Negligence: Defining the Duty Owned by Hospitals to Their Patients. DuQ. L. REv.30, 639.

Pardon, M., & Kleiner, B. H. (2000). New developments concerning negligent retention. Management Research News.


Platt, B. D. (1992). Negligent retention and hiring in Florida: safety of customers versus security of employers. Fla. St. UL Rev.20, 697.

Wiet, M. J. (2005). Darling v. Charleston community memorial hospital and its legacy. Annals Health L.14, 399.

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By Sandra Arlington

Sandra Arlington is a contributing writer to the Motley Fool. Having written for various online magazines, such as Ehow and LiveStrong, she decided to embark on a travel blog for the past 10 years. She is also a regular contributor to My Essay Writer.

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