Health Workers,
Employee Medical Testing and Training Requirements.

This article will describe California state laws regarding medical exams and CPR courses that are required for employment in the healthcare industry. This guide will make the pre-employment medical testing process easy and straightforward for your health workers.  Today, we’ll cover:

  • Who the California laws pertain to.
  • What medical exams and CPR certifications they need in order to start working in a healthcare facility.
  • Fingerprinting, background checks and drug testing for health workers.
  • When your health workers should undergo their medical exams and complete CPR, AED, BLS, and/or ACLS courses.
  • How your health workers can easily take these necessary medical exams and CPR courses.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Who is required to have medical exams before working in healthcare facilities in California?

According to the California Code of Regulations, a pre-employment medical exam is required for health workers and other prospective employees who are applying to work in any medical facility, such as:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Psychology Clinic
  • Adult Day Health Center (ADHC)
  • Acute Psychiatric Hospital (APH)
  • Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital (CDRH)
  • Correctional Treatment Centers (CTC)
  • General Acute Care Hospital (GACH)
  • Home Health Agency (HHA)
  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)
  • Intermediate Care Facility (ICF)
  • Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled (ICF/DD)
  • Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled-Habilitative (ICF/DD-H)
What should the medical exam for health workers include?

We all know that there are hundreds of different medical exam types, everything from basic vital sign tests to more complex lab work. So, what types of tests do your employees need in California?  The initial pre-employment medical exam should include the following:

The medical exam should have full details that indicate the employee is sufficiently free of disease to perform their assigned duties and that they don’t have any health conditions that would create a hazard for themselves, fellow employees or patients.  Any subsequent annual exams should include those same tests.  There are other pre-employment medical tests that you could implement into your hospital or clinic’s policy, but they are not required by California law. However, the following tests will create a safer environment for your patients and staff alike.

When should your health workers get a medical exam in California?

According to the California Code of Regulations, all employees working in a medical facility should undergo a medical exam by a physician:

  1. Medical exams should be required for employment and should be completed within 7 days after being hired.
  2. An annual test for tuberculosis shall be performed on those individuals with a previously documented negative tuberculosis test.
How long should I keep my employees’ health records on file?

The facility shall maintain a health record for each employee, including reports of all employment-related medical examinations. Such records shall be kept a minimum of three years following termination of employment.

Do health workers need to submit fingerprinting for employment?

Short answer: Yes! But in a round-about way. Technically, there isn’t a law that requires health workers–such as doctors and nurses–to undergo fingerprinting to be directly hired, but California licensing boards for doctors and nurses require fingerprinting.  Doctors, nurses, medical assistants and many other types of health workers need licenses to practice in California.

The benefits of fingerprinting and background checks

Fingerprinting and background checks for your new employees are beneficial for your medical facility.

  • Patients will feel safer and more secure during their visits when you ensure that your health professionals are properly screened.
  • Live Scan fingerprinting protects healthcare professionals from other people stealing and using their identities.
  • Live Scan fingerprinting can be seamlessly integrated with existing healthcare systems, which makes the process more streamlined and efficient.
Is drug testing required in California for health workers?

No. In California, doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals are not required to be drug tested.  In fact, health workers have won more rights after Senate Bill No. 700 was passed in October 2023. The Bill states that employers are no longer allowed to terminate employees due to marijuana found in drug tests.  In 2014, Proposition 46 was proposed to make it a state requirement for doctors and other medical professionals to be randomly tested for drug and alcohol use on the job. This was in relation to medical negligence. However, the proposition was rejected.  Having said that, drug testing has always been a company-by-company policy anyway. Meaning, it’s up to you and your executive board to integrate drug testing as part of your hiring policy.

Why you should require drug testing for new employees

You don’t have to be an award-winning neurosurgeon to know that illicit drugs can impair one’s physical and mental capabilities. Drugs can also impair one’s judgment and decision making. Those are two critical abilities for health workers because they take care of patients. Lives are literally in their hands. Add on the fact that hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities are high-stress and fast-paced environments, drug and alcohol intoxication on the job should always be inexcusable.  Let’s take a look at some benefits of drug testing, whether pre-employment or as a recurring program after they’re hired.

  • Reduces the chance of on-the-job accidents and injuries.
  • Drug testing provides both employers and employees with the ability to make the workplace a more productive environment.
  • Reduces absenteeism from your staff.
  • Reduce employee turnover rates.
  • Protect your company from lawsuits and liabilities.
Are CPR, AED and First Aid certifications required for health workers in California?

Health workers in California must complete and pass an Adult, Child, and Infant Pediatric CPR certification course. Online CPR, AED, and First Aid courses are accepted in California, but a hands-on skills test may be required by the state to maintain employment.

Why are CPR courses required?

It is only natural that healthcare employees and other staff members at a medical facility know basic CPR/AED procedures. After all, your employees’ play a critical role in the health and safety of patients within your facilities.  Just as TB tests are required as a means to protect others, enrolling and completing CPR, AED and/or First Aid courses benefit those around you.

What’s the difference between CPR, AED and First Aid classes?

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. CPR can help save a life during cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating or it beats too ineffectively to circulate blood to the brain and other vital organs. AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. Typically, it’s simply called a defibrillator. It is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. It’s a sophisticated, easy-to-use, medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. First Aid is the first and immediate medical assistance given to a person with either a minor or serious illness or injury. The concept of first aid is to provide care in order to preserve the patient’s life, to prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery until professional medical services arrive. As a medical staff member, you can take basic and advanced first aid courses to satisfy California’s occupational requirements.

Are Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) courses required?

Technically, your CPR course covers most of the same topics and techniques as BLS, or Basic Life Support. The only difference is that BLS includes additional life-saving techniques which can help patients experiencing cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or an obstructed airway. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is not required by law or by licensing boards. Neither is Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Having said that, different jurisdictions and agencies might require ACLS and PALS. One example is Ventura County, which requires its local paramedics to be certified by the American Heart Association every two years for ACLS and PALS.

What’s the difference between ACLS and BLS?

BLS and ACLS are different in scope as well as complexity.  BLS focuses on basic life-saving techniques, such as CPR and proper use of AED.  ACLS delves deeper into advanced cardiovascular life support, including advanced airway management, pharmacology, and complex resuscitation algorithms.

Your next steps

Now that you know what the pre-employment medical exam requirements are in California, the next step is to help your prospective health workers and other medical staff to schedule appointments for tests.  WellnessMart specializes in pre-employment testing for working in the medical field. With over 50 locations to serve you, Wellnessmart allows you to order tests, receive and store results, and get single consolidated billing– all at wellnessmart.com. It’s quick, friendly, accurate testing for clinics, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and requires no out of pocket payments for your applicants.

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