Dangerous Nurses May Be Practicing In Georgia

Dangerous nurses and healthcare providers may be practicing throughout Georgia. In 1987, Congress ordered federal health officials to create a database of state disciplinary actions against nurses and other health professionals. This database includes the names of those who, among other things, have been found to have committed physical, mental and sexual abuse of patients.
While each state is required to maintain a database, no nationally available database has ben created. When a hospital or temporary agency wants to hire a nurse, there’s no easy way to check whether the person has abused a patient or engaged in dangerous conduct elsewhere in the country.
This information was supposed to be added to a database of similar information about doctors which was made available to hospitals and other eligible health employers in 1990. But this has not happened.
As it stands now, only federal and state agencies and health plans, such as HMOs, are allowed access to the information about nurses. Incredibly, hospitals and nursing homes cannot access this critical data.
The federal government has announced that this information should be available on a nationwide basis to hospitals and other health facilities within a year. There is one major obstacle. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities rely on temporary agencies for nursing and other employees. Under the law, temporary agencies would be allowed to search a nurse’s background only if they were designated as agents of particular hospitals or other facility. It is anticipated that these institutions will be unwilling to designate multiple staffing firms as their agents.
Unfortunately, while these problems are being debated by government officials, many innocent patients may become victims of dangerous perpetrators whose proclivities are known to the government, but unavailable to the very institutions which hire them and place them in positions of trust. This is an outrageous situation which must be corrected immediately. One can only hope that the government officials charged with this duty will take it seriously and proceed with the greatest of speed.

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