Officials Raise Concerns Over Disbanding of Calif. Registered Nurse Board
Concerns are emerging that the disbanding of California's Board of Registered Nursing -- which operated for 106 years -- could have negative implications for the public, California Watch reports (Jewett, California Watch, 1/25).
Last fall, Gov. Jerry Brown (D)Â vetoed a bill (SB 538) that would have extended by four years the board's powers to license or discipline California's 400,000 registered nurses. Those powers expired Jan. 1.
The bill also would have made certain investigators for the board eligible for more generous pensions.
Board employees, who investigate 8,000 cases annually, now work as part of the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
Details of the Concerns
Some officials are raising concerns over whether the public is adequately protected from nurses who could require drug treatment or practice limitations.
Jeannine Graves -- former board president -- said that givingÂ the Department of Consumer AffairsÂ authority over the functions of the board creates a "legal fiction" and does not protect the public or offer due process to nurses.
Richard Rice -- a senior adviser to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) -- said the disbanding halts the board's work to improve nursing care.
Russ Heimerich -- a spokesperson for the Department of Consumer Affairs -- said board employees are continuing their administrative and investigative work.
Melissa Figueroa -- a spokesperson for the State and Consumer Services Agency, which oversees the Department of Consumer Affairs -- said the changes to the board should not be a concern to the public.
She said the agency is negotiating with the Legislature to quickly reconstitute the board possibly through a trailer billÂ to state budget legislation (California Watch, 1/25).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.