Issues Persist With Calif. Nurse Licensing System, Audit Finds
California's computer system for processing online applications and renewals for nursing licenses still is not functioning at full capacity, according to a state audit released this month, the Sacramento Bee's "The State Worker" reports (Ortiz, "The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 2/25).
Background on System
The state Department of Consumer Affairs-managed online portal for licensing and enforcement, called BreEZe, was designed to improve efficiency for licensing boards and bureaus.
The state Board of Registered Nursing and nine additional agencies have been using the system since October 2013 (California Healthline, 2/14/14). The system originally was slated to cost $28 million, but its current budget has more than tripled to $96 million.
Shortly after its launch, the system had about 1,700 defects, according to the audit ("The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 2/25).
For example, BreEZe initially was unable to accept online applications for nursing licenses. Instead, employees needed to manually enter applicant data from paper forms to determine if an applicant was eligible for the licensing exam. The Board of Registered Nursing said it could take up to 90 days to process applications and to determine applicants' eligibility (California Healthline, 2/14/14).
According to "The State Worker," some problems have been resolved, but many remain.
- There are inconsistencies between BreEZe's 20-page, step-by-step user guide and what the system actually requires;
- The system does not track discrepancies, such as incorrect birth dates or Social Security numbers on background-check files, resulting in applications getting lost in "limbo"; and
- It can take up to eight weeks to receive a temporary license due to the site's inflexibility, while nurses used to be able to receive a temporary license immediately after the background check was passed ("The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 2/25).