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Auditors press boards to beef up background checks

Oregon’s health professional regulatory boards should strengthen their background checks, especially when the candidates or licensees will handle drugs or interact with vulnerable populations, the Secretary of State’s office said in an audit released in March. The report, a general review of the state’s 20 health boards, assessed the governance and delivery of services of the boards.
Seventeen of the boards perform criminal background checks of applicants, usually through a national fingerprint-based FBI check. But the veterinary, occupational therapy, and speech pathology and audiology boards do no initial check, the audit found. And most boards do not conduct subsequent checks upon renewal. Some professionals have never been checked. In the case of the occupational therapy board and speech pathology board, funding was requested for the FBI background checks or an investigator, but the legislature denied the request.
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