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No background checks for one-third of CA health workers

Los Angeles Times, December 30, 2008

California's failure to check the criminal backgrounds of health professionals extends well beyond nurses, encompassing tens of thousands of doctors, dentists, psychiatric technicians and therapists. The Los Angeles Times reported this fall that regulators had not vetted about 195,000 of the state's registered and vocational nurses, exposing patients to caregivers with histories of violence, addiction, predatory behavior or corruption. Prompted by those articles, the state Department of Consumer Affairs has identified 104,000 more professionals from all levels of medical care to add to that tally. All told, the agency now estimates that close to a third of the state's 937,100 licensed healthcare workers have not been screened through fingerprint checks.