Officials search for unqualified health workers

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The scheme was concentrated in Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, authorities say. on wire fraud charges and a continued investigation of additional schools that may be offering the same fraudulent arrangement. Ten people have reached plea agreements with prosecutors.

About 2,800 people who bought credentials without attending classes from three unaccredited schools passed the National Council Licensure Examination and presumably have used that shortcut to find work or better jobs in the health-care industry, said Fernando Porras, assistant special agent in charge of the Miami office of the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Advertisement Those names have been turned over to 56 state nursing boards — some states have more than one board — in an effort to find the people with fraudulent credentials, Porras said. So far, there have been no reports of harm to a patient by an unqualified nurse, according to Porras and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

“There’s a lot of safeguards in the program,” Porras said, noting that registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and others can take jobs in a variety of health-care settings beyond hospitals.

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