- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday it is requiring nearly 600 nursing assistants to retake their registration exams after an investigation found “potential improprieties” at two Inver Hills Community College sites.

The unusual move follows an investigation into a “suspicious pattern in test results” at Inver Hills’ Center for Professional and Workforce Development, and its satellite location at Blue Sky Online in West St. Paul, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1IneGCz ) reported. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities joined in the announcement.

The requirement affects all students who took tests at the two sites between May 1, 2014, and Oct. 16, 2015, to become federally qualified nursing assistants - regardless of whether their specific test results were questionable.

State health officials are now contacting nursing assistants who need to retake the test, at no cost to them, along with their employers.

“We have an obligation to ensure that these workers meet the basic requirements,” Gil Acevedo, an assistant state health commissioner, said in a statement. He said it is important “to re-establish the credentials of these nursing assistants as quickly as possible without causing an undue disruption for workers, employers, or patients.”

A state registry lists more than 55,000 certified nursing assistants in Minnesota. They monitor patients and their vital signs at nursing homes and care facilities, administer medication with nurse supervision and help patients with dressing, bathing and eating.

Nursing assistants can continue to work until retesting is complete, but will be removed from the state registry and are ineligible to work at federally certified nursing homes if they do not pass the required exam by March 31. Nursing assistants who aren’t on the state registry can technically still work, but many state-licensed facilities won’t hire them, the health department said.

Testing at the Inver Hills locations was suspended after “potential improprieties” were discovered in some test results, said Tim Wynes, president of the community college.

“We take our role very seriously in ensuring that nursing assistants in Minnesota are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills,” Wynes said.


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

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