California Regulators Expand Background Checks for Nurses
On Friday, California regulators announced emergency measures to investigate the criminal backgrounds of nurses in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In keeping with the effort, beginning this month, California regulators will ask all nurses renewing their licenses if they have been convicted of a crime.
The regulators' announcement follows an investigation that found dozens of nurses had kept their licenses for years despite several convictions.
Carrie Lopez -- director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the state agency that oversees 30 professional licensing boards -- said that all new regulations are pending approval from the state's Office of Administrative Law.
The regulations come in response to an investigation by the Times and not-for-profit investigative news organization ProPublica that found that the state Board of Registered Nursing had not taken action against nurses with criminal convictions in more than 115 cases.
The Board of Registered Nursing also is developing regulations to collect fingerprints from all nurses licensed before 1990.
Lopez said she expects that nurses who have not been fingerprinted will have to do so when renewing their state licenses after March 1.Â She said she has also directed staff to develop a proposal for legislation to expand that requirement to other state licensing boards (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 10/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.