Cash-strapped Indiana nixes nurse background check program

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Indiana cannot afford its $1 million share of a federal nurse background check initiative. It therefore will not participate in the program, the state said Monday.

Under the healthcare reform law, states could apply for a federal matching grant of 75% of the cost of implementing nurse background checks, up to $3 million. Spokespeople for both Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and Indiana's Department of Health confirmed Monday that the state could not afford the expenditure in the current economic climate, the Indianapolis Star reported. Monday was the last day states could apply for the matching grants.

Indiana currently relies on the state's 120,000 registered nurses to self-report any criminal history when applying for or renewing their licenses. State nursing home resident advocates decried the decision, saying that state officials passed up an opportunity to protect Indiana residents in nursing homes, the Star reported.