Doing some research this week for an article about the health care reform comming up in congress when I came across this article at propublica, a great research website.
The article talks about the problems facing California States Nursing Board, where a few board members were fired this week by the Governator.
The problem was;
" board charged with overseeing California's 350,000 registered nurses often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct, leaving nurses accused of wrongdoing free to practice without restrictions, an investigation by The Times and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica found.
It's a high-stakes gamble that no one will be hurt as nurses with histories of drug abuse, negligence, violence and incompetence continue to provide care across the state. While the inquiries drag on, many nurses maintain spotless records. New employers and patients have no way of knowing the risks."
"Among the findings:
* The board took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses, according to its own statistics. In at least six other large states, the process typically takes a year or less.
* The board failed to act against nurses whose misconduct already had been thoroughly documented and sanctioned by others. Reporters identified more than 120 nurses who were suspended or fired by employers, disciplined by another California licensing board or restricted from practice by other states – yet have blemish-free records with the nursing board.
* The board failed to use its authority to immediately stop potentially dangerous nurses from practicing. It obtained emergency suspensions of nurses' licenses just 29 times from 2002 to 2007. In contrast, Florida's nursing regulators, who oversee 40% fewer nurses, take such action more than 70 times each year"
I suggest you check out the full story. Scary Scary stuff.