As you may remember, we touched on the major federal bust of a Florida Nursing Diploma scheme that recently broke. You can check the original story here. As we begin to see the trickle-down effect of such a massive scheme here in NY, we wanted to speak on how nurses here in our home state have been affected. Healthcare exclusion checks and education verification are in place for this exact reason and it’s incredible that this unfortunate case was able to get as out of control as it did. Let’s take a look deeper into the Nursing Diploma Scandal and how it has impacted nurses in NY.
Over 900 Nurses With Questions to Answer
Across New York State, over 900 professional nurses have been asked to prove their credentials, or turn in their nursing licenses. State education officials sent out a letter on Feb 7th that states NY nurses who attended Florida-based nursing schools shut down for allegedly selling fake diplomas have 14 days to demonstrate their legitimacy.
In the muli-state federal takedown now known as “Operation Nightingale,” seven different Florida nursing programs were ordered to close immediately. It has been estimated that these schools sold more than 7,600 fraudulent diplomas and transcripts.
Another 2,400 Pending & Frozen
Here in New York, beyond the 900 licensed nurses who will need to prove their credentials, there are another whopping 2,400 New Yorkers who enrolled in the Florida schools. This means that their pending licenses are immediately frozen until they show they have “met the requirements for acceptable education, examination, and moral character.” according to the State Education Department.
Read More: Why is education verification necessary?
It remains to be seen what the fate will be for nurses who do not, or can not provide proof of their credentials. In the event that nurses were found to have intentionally obtained false credentials, it’s possible they could face criminal charges, though that has yet to be stated publicly. According to the attorney representing the NY nurses, “Typically, those affected were already LPNs, or licensed practical nurses, who were seeking registered nursing (RN) degrees.”
Another Reminder of Why Background Screening Matters
We will continue to monitor the situation and update readers here on the blog on what may happen next with regard to this massive scam, but it heeds another important reminder. Our industry is vital to any business or industry. Background checks, more specifically OIG healthcare exclusion checks, and education & employment verification are paramount to ensuring our American healthcare workforce is rock solid and helps to prevent the wrong individuals from practicing medicine. Beyond the medical industry, it is another bold reminder that there are ways for a potential employee to access falsified diplomas and deceive a prospective employer.
Ensuring you’re hiring who a person is, who is who they say they are is the first step in ensuring you’re hiring an honest and qualified employee, no matter what industry you’re in.
For more information regarding our OIG healthcare exclusion checks, education verification, or employment verification, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are more than willing to answer your questions and help you find a path toward a better background check program for your business!