In a February 22, 2001, article entitled “Inept caregivers slip past net Federal database designed to track incompetent nurses and other health workers has dangerous omissions” By Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber using ProPublica as their source make a multitude of uninformed and erroneous comments about the quality of nursing in the United States and of course mention Alabama as not sufficiently reporting sanctions against psychiatrists with the less than subtle inference that the same occurs in nursing in Alabama.
These are the facts from the Alabama Board of Nursing:
“Any nurse who has a complaint filed against him or her is entitled to legal representation throughout the process. Since the Board is in the position of prosecuting the complaint, legal advice or referrals can not be provided from the Board office. The Board does need a letter of representation from the attorney so that discussions can occur about the complaint.
Complaints are not public information and Board staff will not discuss complaints with anyone other than the nurse, legal representative, or witnesses during the course of the investigation.”
The ABN requires reporting to the Federal Government in direct opposition to the claims by Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber in the Chicago Tribune
“Federal law requires the Board to report disciplinary actions to two different federal databanks. All disciplinary action is reported to the Healthcare Integrity Protection Databank (HIPDB). The nurse will receive a copy of the HIPDB report and has the opportunity to respond.
If a nurse is revoked or suspended, federal law requires reporting to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG makes the determination whether to exclude the nurse from providing care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. Usually, the exclusion is for a five year period. If the nurse regains the license before the end of the five years, it is up to the individual to petition the OIG to remove the exclusion. The nurse receives notice from the OIG related to any exclusion.
In addition to federal databank reporting, the Board reports disciplinary action to NurSys, the databank of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The majority of state boards report discipline to NurSys and if a nurse is attempting a “geographic cure” by moving to a different state, in addition to verification of licensure, NurSys may contain the disciplinary action for the other Boards of Nursing to review.”
Some 89 nurses have been subject to discipline by the ABN in 2010
Similar numbers were disciplined in 2009 at various monthly intervals.
One might conclude this article from the Chicago Tribune is a manipulation of fact based on a political agenda.
The facts from Alabama are publicly available so why would the ABN or any other government body in Alabama hide them from the Federal Government. I got them so anyone can get them.
Are there incompetent nurses in Alabama? Apparently from the number of disciplinary actions there are many that are reported and surely many who are never reported.
Is there a good ole girl (and boy) network that protects incompetency by failing to report neglect and performance of proper procedure in nursing? You bet there is just like the secret code the police protect each other with “Dont ask , dont tell” This problem is addressed by quality review in hospitals.
Is the Chicago Tribune article even remotely relevant to Alabama? Based on the number of nursing disciplinary cases – not very?
I do have personal experience with the training of nurses. I was one of the first chemistry under grads allowed to teach nursing chemistry labs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
At that time (1980 to 1984) students were allowed to take nursing chemistries seven times in order to pass. This was part of a misguided attempt to produce an equality of race and not a quality of nurse. The regimen was reduced to three attempts in 1984 or 1985.
One student whom I failed finally passed the course. She went on to practice nursing at a hospital in Birmingham. She nearly killed three people by making up a 50 percent saline solution that was supposed to be half a percent. The incompetence was the fault of a law seeking to make everyone equal whether they are capable of doing a job or not. This error was not the fault of the ABN or the hospital but rather the fault of politicians seeking votes and being heedless of the consequences of their decisions.
Perhaps the authors of the Tribune article might consider facts before politically correct preference. It makes life easier and lies nonexistent.