Finance background checks are essential in healthcare and aged care for one key reason: the vulnerability of patients under the organisations’ care.
In December 2021, an aged care nurse had his registration suspended for three years after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found he had used coercion and intimidation towards an elderly patient to convince her to give him over $100,000. The nurse spent this money on a new car, flights, and a ticket to the Cricket World Cup. In their decision, the VCAT panel members called the nurse’s actions “gross financial exploitation of a vulnerable elderly patient.”
While the aged care provider notified authorities as soon as it became aware of the issue and cooperated with inquiries, the incident has inevitably led to reputational damage for the institution. VCAT’s statement noted that “the case also illustrates the need for vigilance on the part of employers, managers and co-workers in residential aged care settings in order to safeguard vulnerable elderly residents against abuse, neglect or exploitation.”
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety warned of the vulnerability of some older Australians and found that “the aged care system fails to meet the needs of its older, vulnerable, citizens.”
Similarly, elderly patients or patients with cognitive impairment in the healthcare system are also highly vulnerable to financial abuse, but this isn’t the only type of financial crime in healthcare and aged care. Company directors, CFOs, or anyone with access to financial controls, purchasing or similar responsibilities has the opportunity to commit fraud and theft, exposing your organisation to high levels of risk.
Financial pressure can lead to criminal behaviour
A seminal study by criminologist Donald R. Cressey into why workplace crime occurs led to the development of the Fraud Triangle. One of the three factors that must be in place for crime to occur is “pressure”, otherwise called incentive or motivation.
Pressures may include debt, credit defaults, bankruptcy, a gambling addiction, or (in the case of the nurse above) the need to support an expensive lifestyle. Once the motivation is there, the employee need only wait for the right opportunity to steal from a vulnerable patient or from the organisation.
Protecting your patients and your organisation
Organisations can comply with Australian laws and protect themselves by conducting employee finance/credit checks as part of their wider background checking programs.
CVCheck specialises in online anti-money laundering (AML), bankruptcy, credit default and credit history checks in Australia. Our financial checks protect your company from fraud and theft. They also ensure that you comply with all licensing requirements by identifying conflicts of interest, questionable credit history and other potential risk factors for staff in positions of responsibility.
Below, we list the top five finance checks for the healthcare/aged care industry.
1. Bankruptcy check
By far our most popular check, our bankruptcy check involves a search of all bankruptcy records back to 1928 via the National Personal Insolvency Index to verify if an individual is, or has been formerly, bankrupt.
This is a critically important check because bankruptcy can impact the eligibility of a person to hold a position of trust (such as a CFO or finance officer) in organisations including healthcare and aged care.
2. Anti-money laundering (AML) check
The AML check is necessary for organisation to comply with legal obligations under the Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act. This check is commonly used when hiring company directors and finance-related roles. The AML check searches for evidence of money laundering activity, terrorism financing, or a “politically exposed person” both nationally and internationally. It complies with a long list of domestic and international regulatory bodies.
3. Credit default check
The credit default check involves a search of public court action records from available courts according to the relevant state and territory laws, and provides information about past problems with an individual’s personal finances which may lead to credit defaults. Again, this check is commonly used for people in positions of financial responsibility, but can flag financial pressure for any employee.
4. Financial regulatory check
The financial regulatory check reveals if an individual has been involved in any activities that may make them unsuitable for a position. Commonly used for management and finance-related occupations, the check involves a search from three registers:
- ASIC’s Banned and Disqualified Register
- ASIC’s Enforceable Undertaking Register
- APRA’s Disqualification Register
5. Business interests check
A business interests check discovers if an individual is involved in other businesses that could cause a conflict of interest; for example, a procurement officer purchasing medical supplies from a business they own. Company information is obtained from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), and may also include registration and licensee information.
Get in touch
CVCheck offers all its checks on one convenient online platform with results delivered quickly, affordably and securely to clients. If you would like more information on finance checks, visit our credit history, financial and business checks page or[HB1] get in touch with one of our background screening experts for a consultation.