Gov. Mark Dayton signed new laws on Wednesday that will tighten oversight of problem nurses and other licensed health care providers, requiring immediate suspension when they pose an immediate risk of harm.
A Star Tribune series revealed that since 2010, 260 nurses were still allowed to practice despite harming patients, stealing drugs or lying about their criminal histories. Nurses with histories of drug abuse or mental illness could spend months in a state monitoring program while missing or failing drug tests.
In the last week of session, legislators overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring all health licensing boards to suspend care providers if there is probable cause to believe they pose an imminent risk of harm to patients. Boards then have 60 days to investigate and issue a final action in a case.
Other provisions passed by the Legislature and signed into law Wednesday include revoking the licenses of nurses convicted of felony sex crimes, requiring employers to report nurses who have stolen drugs and requiring the state drug monitoring program to provide more information to the Nursing Board about nurses who have harmed patients and stolen drugs.
“This legislation is an important step toward assuring every Minnesotan the very best medical care,” Dayton said Wednesday. “Its reforms provide the Board of Nursing with additional tools to monitor incidents of wrongdoing and carry out appropriate protective measures
The new laws go into effect this summer.