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Minn. nurses board moves to step up sanctions

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The regulatory board for Minnesota nurses has voted to speed up its disciplinary process and seek authority from the Legislature to investigate and impose tougher sanctions.

Thursday's actions follow a series of Minneapolis Star Tribune reports revealing that nurses who harmed patients, stole drugs or lied about their criminal histories were allowed continue practicing. The newspaper reported on the new steps (http://strib.mn/IOLPJr ), some of which would require law changes.

The 16-member board says it will meet more often to consider disciplinary cases and cut the time it takes to complete probes. It also hopes lawmakers will grant authority to sanction a nurse who has failed a state monitoring program for health care professionals with substance abuse or mental problems.

Licenses for 115,000 Minnesota nurses fall under board jurisdiction.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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