Mass. investigation reveals issues with nurse licensing process: 8 things to know

The Massachusetts nursing board's investigation into fraudulently-obtained nursing licenses reveals a pattern of applicants for Massachusetts nursing licenses using what appear to be doctored licenses from other states in an effort to prove professional certification, according to a report from The Boston Globe.

Here are eight findings from a Globe review of documents at the heart of the investigation, and from interviews conducted about the investigation.

1. Four applicants for Massachusetts nursing licenses gave addresses in Randolph, Everett, Milton and Lihue, Hawaii. All four claimed to already have nursing licenses from Hawaii, and each filed a form purportedly signed by Kathleen Yokouchi, identified as an officer of the Hawaii nursing board. However, Ms. Yokouchi retired five years ago, and the verifications were found to be completely fraudulent.

2. Three applicants pretended they had Alabama licenses, filing a form signed by either "Genell Lee" or "N. Genell Lee."  However, Alabama officials told the Massachusetts nursing board that valid forms would be signed by someone else, according to the report.

3. Another three applicants claimed to have Oklahoma licenses, and used the same incorrect name for an official on their forms.

4. State regulators told The Boston Globe only one of the 13 found to have fraudulently obtained licenses in Massachusetts passed the national qualifying nursing examination, a requirement to practice.

5. Most of the 13 found to have fraudulently obtained licenses in Massachusetts submitted licenses from the few states that don't participate in Nursys, a national database of nurse disciplinary actions, according to the report. But, the report notes, those states still have their own online licensing databases that can quickly confirm to a future employer whether someone has a legitimate license.

6. One of the applicants didn't provide a Massachusetts address on her form, and another provided a fake address in Milton, Mass.

7. At least nine of the 13 found to have fraudulently obtained licenses in Massachusetts had practiced as nurses in Massachusetts in recent months, state officials said, according to The Boston Globe.  One of those nine worked in nursing homes and one also worked in a hospital. State officials found no link suggesting the nurses under scrutiny harmed patients, The Boston Globe notes.

8. The state is currently reviewing whether it wants to continue its relationship with Nashville, Tenn.-based Professional Credential Services, which Massachusetts has used for the vetting of nurse licensure applications, according to the report. Professional Credential Services also reviews license applications for pharmacists, psychologists, optometrists and many other professionals in Massachusetts.


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