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Thread: Dozens of criminal RNs identified by California regulators

  1. #1

    Dozens of criminal RNs identified by California regulators

    Dozens of criminal RNs identified by California regulators

    By Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein

    December 26, 2009


    Dozens of registered nurses who have been convicted of serious crimes including murder, sex offenses, robbery and assault have been identified by California regulators reviewing newly required fingerprints from tens of thousands of caregivers.

    The state Board of Registered Nursing expanded its review of nurses' criminal records after an October 2008 story by The Times and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica found that regulators often didn't know about nurses' convictions and didn't act quickly once they learned of them.

    At the time, nurses who had received licenses before 1990 were exempt from providing fingerprints, which are used to flag arrests for regulators. Since March, the board has required those nurses to submit their fingerprints.

    Most of the crimes turned up are misdemeanors, such as driving under the influence, petty theft or fraud. But the records as of November also included two murders, two solicitations for murder, an attempted murder, a manslaughter and a vehicular homicide. There also were 19 convictions for assault, including five felonies, and 39 for sex offenses, three of them felonies.

    The nursing board has referred at least 13 cases to the attorney general to start disciplinary proceedings against the nurses involved. Regulators won't release the names or details of any nurses' crimes unless public accusations are filed.

    The board closed its investigation into one murder conviction without taking disciplinary action. The nurse had been convicted of second-degree murder in 1974 after shooting his sister's abusive boyfriend four times, according to board records. He was initially denied a license. But the board granted him one in 1987, finding him sufficiently rehabilitated, and placed him on three years' probation, which he completed successfully.

    Of the 1,900 conviction reports sent to the board, about 1,300 have been closed without action because of the crime's age or nature. The remaining ones await further investigation.

    The board has taken disciplinary action against only one of the convicted licensees. David Trower's license was suspended on an emergency basis after the board learned that he had been convicted four times of drunken driving between 1996 and 2008. An accusation to permanently revoke or restrict his license is pending.

    Trower could not be located for comment.

    The Times and ProPublica's review last year found more than 115 cases in which the state did not seek to discipline nurses until they had racked up three or more criminal convictions. It also turned up cases in which nurses with felony records continued to have spotless licenses -- sometimes while behind bars.

    Nurse Haydee Parungao, for example, was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison after admitting in 2006 that she had bilked Medicare out of more than $3 million. The board filed a formal accusation against her three years later. The case is pending, but her license expired in November 2008.

    Other examples included an Orange County nurse who continued to renew his license for years even after he was imprisoned for attempted murder and a Redding nurse who racked up 14 convictions over a decade before the board caught up with her.

    The charges included driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and possession of a controlled substance.

    Not all nurses convicted of crimes automatically lose their licenses.

    Background checks

    In 1990, the board began requiring nurses applying for licenses to provide their fingerprints -- the first nursing board in the country to do so. But nurses who already had their licenses at that time were not required to submit prints. That group now numbers 138,500.

    As of Dec. 16, nearly 64,000 nurses in that group had submitted prints. More than 400 nurses' licenses have been put on hold because they haven't complied with the new rule. The rest have not yet renewed their licenses.

    The background checks are part of the board's continuing overhaul of its operations following reports by ProPublica and The Times about lengthy delays in investigating and disciplining nurses accused of wrongdoing.

    The newly discovered convictions are "opportunities to do our job that we wouldn't have had," said Paul Riches, deputy director for enforcement and compliance at the state Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees all health licensing boards. It's been "a very positive thing," he said.

    Effort expanded

    The fingerprinting effort is being expanded to include all licensed health professionals in the state. Until now each of the state's health regulatory agencies set its own rules about who had to submit prints. Close to a third of the state's 937,100 licensed healthcare workers had not been screened as of December 2008. Even within the state, the rules were inconsistent for different groups of health professionals...
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...tory?track=rss

  2. #2
    Interesting article. Nurses are people just like the rest of us and are in greater numbers than many other professions. Why don't we see articles like this about politicians, lawyers, judges, bankers, wealthy people in general. Maybe because they have $$ to keep everyone quite and make us think they aren't corrupt?!
    From the time you were born till you ride in a hearse, there is nothing so bad that it couldn't be worse!

    All fringe benifits must be authorized by Helen Waite, if you want your SCI fixed go to Helen Waite!

    Why be politically correct when you can be right!

  3. #3
    Um.....because wealthy people don't have to undergo a background investigation simply because they're wealthy.
    Dave

  4. #4
    Senior Member MarkPals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Interesting article. Nurses are people just like the rest of us and are in greater numbers than many other professions. Why don't we see articles like this about politicians, lawyers, judges, bankers, wealthy people in general. Maybe because they have $$ to keep everyone quite and make us think they aren't corrupt?!
    Where do you live, man? Do you ever read the papers? Corruption is the face of the news.

    Do you read the posts here about bad caregivers? I'm sorry, but I expect doctors, nurses, and pharmicists to hold them selves up to the highest standards. They are the last line of defense between life and death. If you are impared...get out.

    I for one am thrilled that they are screening more closely. The only ones affected will be the bad ones. Most are competent and caring, and have nothing to worry about.
    Veni.Vidi,Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.

    Vidi, Vici, et Veni, et Veni, et Veni...

  5. #5
    I think it is fine, although the same checks should be required of other licensed professionals as well. It cost me $90 to get my fingerprints and submit them (in addition to the $180 it costs every 2 years to renew my RN license and CNS certificate in the state of CA)!!!

    (KLD)

  6. #6
    What about 5.0? They are the biggest liers oif em all, but yet the judges believe anything they say.


    extortion or something

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkPals View Post
    Where do you live, man? Do you ever read the papers? Corruption is the face of the news.

    Do you read the posts here about bad caregivers? I'm sorry, but I expect doctors, nurses, and pharmicists to hold them selves up to the highest standards. They are the last line of defense between life and death. If you are impared...get out.

    I for one am thrilled that they are screening more closely. The only ones affected will be the bad ones. Most are competent and caring, and have nothing to worry about.
    agreed. the article was disturbing but didn't surprise me. i've run into my share lying, thieving medical professionals although i've found rn's to be more trustworthy than lpn's and cna's. i'm glad california is doing this. this should be nationwide.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rathole View Post
    What about 5.0? They are the biggest liers oif em all, but yet the judges believe anything they say.


    extortion or something
    Yay! An intelligent post! (yes that was full of sarcasm)
    Dave

  9. #9

  10. #10
    I was not disagreeing with the article or it's contents and am all for it. In my book the nursing profession and it's workers have my greatest respect, it is hard to find good help. What gets me is that we don't get to hear about how bad (and I mean really bad) the wealthy professionals are because they have $$ to hide behind. I would not call nurses wealthy people by profession.

    Recently up here there was a guy convicted of DWI for the 18th time. All you read about or see on tv is the guy and his arrests, no mention or question of why is our juditial system so screwed up. To me the lawyers, judges and all the rest involved in letting this happen are just as much to blame. They have the big bucks and power to keep themselves out of the media.

    If we're going to clean up the professional world then lets go all the way and not just get the pee-ons. That's not going to happen because this country is way too soft, at least the part of it that hasn't been bought off yet.

    Sorry Antiquity, didn't mean to steal your thread. I like nurses, hell, I even married one!
    From the time you were born till you ride in a hearse, there is nothing so bad that it couldn't be worse!

    All fringe benifits must be authorized by Helen Waite, if you want your SCI fixed go to Helen Waite!

    Why be politically correct when you can be right!

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