Criminal Background Checks Incomplete for Many Medical Personnel
Close to one-third of California's 937,100 licensed health care workers have not undergone criminal background screenings using fingerprint scans, according to estimates by the state Department of Consumer Affairs, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Earlier reports published in the Times found that about 195,000 registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses had not undergone such criminal screenings, but further investigations indicate that an additional 104,000 physicians, dentists, psychiatric technicians, therapists and other medical professionals in California also had not been screened using fingerprint scans.
The investigations were undertaken by the Times and ProPublica, a not-for-profit investigative news organization.
Carrie Lopez, director of DCA, has ordered the Medical Board of California and 19 other state agencies that oversee licensing for health care personnel to collect fingerprints from all licensees who have not provided them.
The state Bureau of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians intends to request fast-track review for proposed fingerprinting regulations.Â
Last month, the state Board of Registered Nursing expedited approval to collect fingerprints from nurses licensed before 1990 (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 12/30/08).
Broadcast CoverageOn Dec. 31, KPBS' "KPBS News" reported on the background checks (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 12/31/08). 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.