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Minnesota bars more than 100 nurses following background oversight

Nov 14, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Employee background checks are standard operating procedure for many businesses, as it allows them to verify applicants' trustworthiness and level of responsibility. This process can be especially critical in industries, such as health care, in which staff members work with vulnerable populations.

Recently, the Minnesota health care sector learned that criminal background checks had not been accurately undertaken, resulting nearly 300 actively licensed nurses with conviction records being employed in area hospitals with no one the wiser, the Star Tribune reported.

A little more than 100 of these nurses will be barred from providing direct care to patients. The convictions ranged from criminal sexual conduct to assault and fraud, according to the newspaper.

"What we're seeing [...] is that there are people on whom we did a background study, and who later offended, and we didn't know about it, because we didn't repeat a background study," state Department of Human Services Inspector General Jerry Kerber told the Star Tribune. "And some of those offenses are even in the serious categories of [criminal sexual conduct]."

Some states, such as Kentucky, are currently attempting to expand the types of care workers legally required to undergo background checks to include long-term caretakers.