Transparent Hiring Practices Reduce Corruption in the Health Sector

Speeches Shim

Thursday, June 10, 2021
The HRS team educated the management team of the Lviv City Outpatient Hospital #6 on transparent hiring procedures.
Image courtesy of USAID Health Reform Support

Linking hiring practices to demand and opening vacancies to greater competition fills gaps in the healthcare workforce.

Dr. Roman Veresnyuk was appointed director at Lviv City Outpatient Hospital #6 two years ago. Dr. Veresnyuk oversees more than 350 medical workers that provide services to approximately 27,000 patients per month. When he joined the hospital, the hiring process was identical to that of many other hospitals in Ukraine; hospitals hired people based on insider contact rather than on the merits or individual qualifications.

In Ukraine’s healthcare system, corruption starts early. Too often, students who wish to become doctors must pay bribes to medical schools to pass exams or receive good grades. When they want to join a hospital, they have to lean on their contacts. The result is a cycle of cynicism whereby healthcare professionals lack motivation to deliver high-quality medical care unless they first receive informal payments from patients, and the reputation of the hospital suffers.

USAID’s Health Reform Support (HRS) activity first began addressing this issue in 2019 when it conducted an analysis of workforce procedures at a few pilot healthcare facilities. The results revealed the areas that were most at-risk for corruption.

For example, at Lviv City Outpatient Hospital #6, hiring was solely at the discretion of the hospital’s director. No employment policies existed, and no other managers reviewed the resumes of potential candidates or conducted job interviews.

“HRS’s analysis became a red flag for me as a manager,” Dr. Veresnyuk recalled. “I decided not to hire people on recommendation alone, or those not motivated to improve their skills, continue professional development, and demonstrate results. On the contrary, I wanted to employ motivated, qualified staff who were able to provide effective medical care and as a result attract more patients and more state financing for treating these patients. But I didn’t know where to start.”

USAID’s HRS came to his aid. In 2021, HRS helped the hospital implement new employment procedures. The hospital established a personnel selection committee and developed standardized job descriptions. With HRS’s support, the hospital initiated a competitive application process by publicly announcing vacancies and interviews.

Dr. Veresnyuk is optimistic that these operational changes are improving medical services for Ukrainians in the region: “USAID support provided us with a transparent mechanism for selecting qualified and motivated personnel to deliver patient-centered medical care. We’ve already started implementing USAID’s recommendations and, through a series of interviews, selected three graduate students from Ukrainian medical universities that will join the team as interns and have the potential to strengthen the work of the facility.”

Within Ukraine, Dr. Veresnyuk’s hospital has become a pioneer in implementing transparent workforce procedures, and those improvements have already paid off. “USAID’s recommendations helped change my vision as a manager on how to collaborate with staff and define what type of personnel we need to improve the facility and benefit patients, explained Dr. Veresnyuk.

He added that transparent employment policies have helped the hospital earn a reputation as an ideal place to work among healthcare professionals who are interested in shaping their workplace and their work environment. As Lviv City Outpatient Hospital #6 attracts better-qualified doctors and nurses, it will increase competition with other healthcare providers, and its transparent hiring practices will serve as a model for other facilities to emulate.

Last updated: June 15, 2021

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