Seventy-two nurses working in state-licensed facilities have been banned from working with patients after the state learned the nurses had criminal records.

The findings come after the Star Tribune presented records to the Department of Human Services last year that 294 actively licensed nurses had criminal convictions ranging from fraud, assault and criminal sexual conduct that by law requires the agency to ban them from working directly with patients.

DHS didn't previously know about the backgrounds of 107 of those nurses, and worked to see if they were working in facilities licensed by the agency, such as group homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

DHS Spokeswoman Karen Smigielski said that 35 of the 107 nurses were not in positions that would require a background study and disqualification. All of the 107 nurses who were disqualified will be able to appeal that decision and show how they do not pose a risk to patients, Smigielski said. 

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