State Audit Slams New York's Oversight of Nurses

ProPublica, October 4, 2017

New York's comptroller says the state does not investigate complaints swiftly and lets nurses with criminal records retain their licenses.

This article first appeared October 2, 2017 on ProPublica.

by Jessica Huseman

An audit released late last week by the New York state comptroller’s office found the state’s Education Department, which regulates nursing, failed to investigate top-priority complaints against nurses in the time allowed by law.

It also found nurses’ backgrounds were not adequately checked and that they were not properly monitored for criminal behavior after licensure.

All of these findings confirm those in a ProPublica investigation into New York’s nursing regulations published in April of 2016.

“The report underscores a problem we already knew existed,” said state Sen. Kemp Hannon, who has co-sponsored two bills — one in 2016 and one in 2017 — aimed at correcting problems identified by ProPublica. In 2016, the bill passed the Senate with a single “no” vote but never received a vote in the Assembly. In 2017, the bill passed the Senate unanimously, but the Assembly never proposed a bill or moved on the Senate bill.

“The roadblock lies squarely at the hands of the Assembly,” Hannon said. “At some point they have to bow to the need for action.”

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