Calif. nurse rehab program full of holes

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

ProPublica’s Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein follow up their investigation of California’s nursing oversight with a story about the failures of the state’s nurse rehab program (Los Angeles Times version; ProPublica version). The embattled California Board of Registered Nursing has touted the program as a safe haven where otherwise good nurses can free themselves of bad habits, but Weber and Ornstein have discovered that nurses often don’t complete the program, and sometimes continue bad behavior unabated despite the voluntary, confidential program’s required drug tests and treatment.

The team has reinforced its data-driven story with well-chosen anecdotes and observations. Program proponents argue that Weber and Ornstein are focusing on a few failures and ignoring the more numerous success stories, but the reporters show that the failures are due, at least in part, to flaws in the program. Even nurses designated as a “public risk” often aren’t investigated until more than year after earning that dubious distinction.

The reporters’ sum up the problem thus: “At the moment, the main person responsible for protecting the public from a drug-addicted nurse in California is the drug-addicted nurse. It’s a risky honor system.”

2 thoughts on “Calif. nurse rehab program full of holes

  1. Pingback: Calif. nurse rehab program full of holes | Exclusive Drug Rehabs

  2. Pingback: Calif. adopts strict rehab rules for medical workers : Covering Health

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