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Archive for Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cases show gaps in nurse regulation

December 10, 2011

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— Patient advocates and nursing home administrators say federal prosecutions against three Kansas nurses for drug tampering highlight regulatory gaps in the oversight of nurses — particularly those working in the long-term care facilities that serve some 90,000 Kansans.

Kansas law doesn’t require nursing homes to do criminal background checks for licensed medical personnel. But the state board, which licenses about 56,000 nurses, was given legislative authority to do background checks and fingerprinting just three years ago and then on new licenses only.

The state requires hospitals to report violations of the Kansas Nurse Practice Act to regulators but does not require nursing homes to do the same.

The Kansas Board of Nursing receives between 1,500 and 1,700 complaints annually on nurses. Roughly 80 percent relate to drug or alcohol abuse.

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