Ricketts signs order suspending FBI background checks for health care workers | Politics

LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts signed an executive order Thursday attempting to expedite the process of bringing health care workers into the field. 

The order waives a current statutory requirement that the state must submit fingerprints of applicants to critical health care positions to the FBI for a national criminal background check, according to a state news release. The order takes effect immediately and will remain in effect until July 31, 2023. 

“As soon as the Executive Order was signed, DHHS began moving forward with processing so these critical healthcare workers can receive their license and begin helping Nebraskans,” Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services CEO Dannette Smith said in the news release.

Earlier this year, the Nebraska Legislature passed new legislation amending the screening requirements for health care workers. However, the FBI has yet to approve it, which has delayed some workers, including audiologists, occupational therapists and independent mental health practitioners, from receiving their licenses, according to the news release.

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In addition to the FBI’s background check, the state has several other checks and balances in place to vet health care applicants. DHHS runs a background check through the Nebraska Data Exchange Network, and checks for prior disciplinary action made against candidates’ past licenses and any past criminal convictions, according to the news release.

ebamer@owh.com Twitter @ErinBamer

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