When it comes to health care, it is important to be able to trust the training and expertise of providers, including the nurses who provide so many services to aid the doctors and other specialists at any facility.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Justice announced this week that many people working as nurses didn’t complete the study and coursework needed for accreditation.
“One of the most brazen schemes that I’ve seen”
Health and Human Services Special Agent in Charge Omar Perez Aybar offered some details about an ongoing investigation into what is being described as a $100 million scam involving fraudulent diplomas and transcripts.
It is believed that thousands of supposed nurses actually paid their way to qualification instead of taking certain aspects of the national exam required to legitimately receive a license.
Aybar explained that the fraud has led investigators through the states of Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Delaware, where the forged paperwork was allegedly sold to those seeking a shortcut into the nursing profession.
“For them, it was worth the investment, or the risk," he asserted, concluding: “It does shock the mind.”
“Shortcut is not a word we want to use”
Along with the DOJ and HHS, the FBI is also involved in the investigation that has led to criminal charges against more than two dozen suspects already.
For his part, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe elaborated on why this alleged crime is such a serious matter.
“When we take an injured son or daughter to a hospital emergency room, we don’t expect — really cannot imagine — that the licensed practical nurse or registered nurse treating our child took a shortcut.”
Bypassing the system, he said, an underqualified nurse skipped “hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of clinical training.”