Healthcare staffing CEO quits amid questions over anti-mask efforts

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Brian Cleary, RN, the CEO of healthcare staffing company Overland Park, Kan.-based Krucial Staffing, has resigned amid questions about his connection with anti-masking initiatives, according to a Sept. 10 report by NPR affiliate KCUR.

Eight details:

  1. Mr. Cleary has been the CEO of the staffing firm, which provides travel nurses to understaffed hospitals, since he helped launch it in 2019.

  2. Jacob Cleary, Brian Cleary's son, founded an anti-masking group called Mask Choice 4 Kids. Brian Cleary recently wrote on the group's Facebook page: "Hey guys, new to the group here. My 19 year old son had the idea of mask choice for kids, then a bunch of parents have run with it. Follow us on social media, we are going to be having a rally outside at the next board meeting. Monday, September 13th from 5-630 pm. Got to have big numbers, we are shooting for 500-1000. Bring kids neighbors, everyone! Strength in numbers."

  3. In a Sept. 10 news release, Krucial Staffing said it accepted Mr. Cleary's resignation in light of events outside of its business. "Since this is a personnel decision, we have nothing further to say regarding this matter," the release said. Krucial did not give a reason for Mr. Cleary's departure, and KCUR could not reach Mr. Cleary for comment.

  4. "Obviously being in the healthcare staffing business, we understand the importance of masks in hospitals and any medical setting," the news release said on Mr. Cleary's departure. "As a company we work to ensure that all our healthcare personnel have the best protective equipment to keep them safe in their working environment."

  5. Court observers have suggested Brian Cleary filed a lawsuit with his daughter against the Johnson County (Kan.) Board of Commissioners to challenge its order requiring masking in the county's schools, according to the report. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are only identified with their initials, "B.C." and "M.M.C." Ryan Kriegshauser, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, declined to confirm the identities of his clients because he was not authorized to do so.

  6. Brian Cleary and Krucial Staffing have been accused of placing traveling nurses in unsafe working conditions. In an April 6, 2020, lawsuit, three nurses from Alabama accused the firm of "profiteering from the crisis, putting nurses' lives at risk, and making promises that its CEO knew he couldn't keep."

  7. The nurses claimed they had to work without proper protective gear and were required to work outside their fields of competence. They claimed they were recruited through a mass text sent by Mr. Cleary. According to the lawsuit, the nurses said they would not have "done it for any money had they known they were putting their lives at risk, as well as, potentially, their families," the lawsuit states. "They also wouldn't have come had they known they would have to violate normative standards of nursing care."

  8. Krucial denies the claims. The firm told Becker's it "will vehemently defend ourselves against these false claims. As this is now a legal matter, we are unable to comment further on the advice of counsel."

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