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State Hasn’t Done Background Checks on Hundreds of Thousands of Healthcare Professionals

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

 

State officials estimate more than 300-thousand licensed healthcare workers in California haven't had criminal background checks. The Department of Consumer Affairs has asked all health boards under its supervision to update their lists. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

 

The state is required by law to screen the criminal background of health professionals.

 

But licensing boards don't all have the same rules regarding fingerprinting. State officials say as a result, the criminal past of nearly half of all dentists is unknown. The same applies to tens of thousands of registered nurses.

 

Chuck Idelson is with the California Nurses Association. He argues criminal acts against patients don’t happen very often.

 

Chuck Idelson : They're probably as rare as a supernova. They should be cracked down on severely when they do occur, but it's not clear to us that additional protections are needed.

 

Consumer advocates say the state must do a better job of checking the background and competence of health professionals.

 

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News. 

 

 

 

 

 

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