Red flags on medical staff applications

Potential concerns about an applicant, often called red flags, should be identified and documented. With time and practice, you’ll learn to discern signs of trouble. Examples of red flags include the following:

  • Frequent practice changes or moves
  • Unexplained time gaps in work history
  • References that raise issues
  • Interruption of a training program
  • Change in hospital staff category
  • Negative response/no response from a reference
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Any claims or investigations of fraud
  • An unusual number of malpractice claims or lawsuits for the specialty
  • Requests for privileges not consistent with training
  • Discrepancies between information provided by the applicant and what’s received from references or other sources

There may be valid reasons for any of the items on this list, but either way, more information is needed. Any concerns or questions that are considered red flags should prompt the MSP to get that information. Actions on licensure may prohibit some people from even getting an application, but even when this is not the case, actions on licensure are a cause for concern and should spur further investigation.

Time lapses might be, but are not always, red flags. For example, foreign graduates may have a lapse in time between their completion of training and the start of their practice due to relocation or additional training required on arrival to the United States.

As long as a reasonable explanation is provided and verified whenever possible, concerns don’t necessarily indicate a problem. They do, however, absolutely require that additional information be obtained.

Source: The Medical Staff Office Manual