Welcome back to the Employment Screening Services blog! As a national provider of healthcare background check services, we use this blog to help readers better understand the importance and value of our industry in the grander scheme of American society. We invite you to look back over the years to read up on some of the many reasons why having a trusted background check partner can help you ensure your company is making the best hiring decisions possible.
Today on the blog we wanted to highlight a particular eye-opening OIG-HHS story in the world of nursing.
$100 Million Worth
Just this week, the DOJ reported a massive fraudulent diploma scheme crossing several state lines and making a huge wave across the country. It is said that more than $100 million worth of falsified diplomas and transcripts over the course of several years helped “thousands of people” take “shortcuts” toward becoming licensed, practicing nurses.
What’s worse is that the forged diplomas and transcripts were sold from what had been real accredited schools to aspiring nurses, in order to help them bypass the qualifying requirements necessary to take the national nursing board exam. The artificial credentials allowed candidates to skip several mandatory steps throughout the licensure process, and find jobs in the healthcare field.
Read More: The Nightmare of Michael Swango
7,600 Fake Diplomas
The conspiracy involved the distribution of over 7,600 artificial nursing diplomas and certificates issued by Florida-based nursing programs. The Justice Department, FBI, and the HHS-OIG teamed together to uncover the staggering conspiracy, which has spanned across several states including Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Delaware. This case has already resulted in over 24 criminal wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges against 25 individuals.
Participants in the scheme who accumulated the falsified nursing diplomas were said to have paid as much as $15,000 for the opportunity to use those fake documents to sit for nursing board exams, secure nursing licenses, and then ultimately obtain nursing employment in medical facilities in Florida and other locations around the country.
Read the Full Story from ABC Here
Who’s to Blame?
The three schools in Florida have all since closed according to officials, but defendants include owners, operators, employees, and “recruiters” of the schools. By purchasing the rights to the paperwork, nursing candidates skipped hundreds if not thousands of hours of clinical training, which is required to earn the experience to understand the role. Greed motivated the bad actors to make massive amounts of money in exchange for putting underqualified individuals into medical facilities without proper training and certification.
WHY Background Screening & Exclusion Checks Are So Important
Our government has systems in place in order to prevent these exact scenarios. By utilizing national OIG-HHS healthcare exclusion lists, individuals who participate in fraudulent situations, both in healthcare and outside of healthcare, are put on these lists to avoid being hired. By partnering with ESS, you can know that we can provide seamless healthcare exclusion checks at a small or large scale in order to maintain your company’s compliance, but also to ensure things like this story above don’t occur.
It takes everyone to work together in order to protect the integrity of medical professionals around the country, and we are proud to be a part of that protection! If you are seeking more information regarding OIG healthcare screening please don’t hesitate to reach out via our contact form or by phone, we are more than willing to help!