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Protections for consumers

November 05, 2008

Re "Panel slow to act on nurses' crimes," Nov. 2

The Department of Consumer Affairs' No. 1 priority is to protect California's vulnerable populations from unscrupulous and unlicensed people who could bring them financial and personal harm. Your recent articles about California's nursing boards have pointed out several flaws that my department is committed to fixing.

I inherited a system that takes an unacceptably long time to discipline licensees whose personal and professional behavior calls into question their ability to do their job dependably. When I became director, I vowed to fix that.

I have broken with bureaucratic tradition and taken immediate actions to create consistency across California's boards and improve protection measures. I have directed the Board of Registered Nursing to fingerprint all nurses -- new and currently practicing -- and to require disclosure of any previous convictions. I will also work with the Legislature on a new law that allows each and every board and bureau under my department to fingerprint all licensees. Carrie Lopez

Sacramento

The writer is the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

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