A state employee gave nursing assistant licenses to 157 people who didn't have the credentials and in some cases didn't even apply for the jobs, a legislative audit has revealed.
State officials discovered in 2009 that the employee, whose name they are not releasing, had given out about 19 of the fraudulent licenses. Further investigation by the Maryland Board of Nursing of thousands of licenses found eight times as many phony credentials had been distributed.
The employee was eventually fired and the fraudulent licenses revoked. The incident is being investigated by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's office. David Paulson, a spokesman for the department, said he could not comment on the case because it was being investigated.
Details of the case were made public this month in a state audit.
The Maryland Board of Nursing has since put new checks and balances in place so that more than one person reviews license applications, said board President Nancy Adams.
"It is now across several folks, and there are some additional checkpoints that make it exceedingly difficult for this to occur again," Adams said.
Maryland Inspector General Thomas V. Russell said the board had taken satisfactory steps to help prevent further incidents.
Adams said no patients were in danger and that the state received no complaints about nursing assistants with the fraudulent licenses. Nursing assistants perform duties such as cleaning bed pans, changing sheets and helping patients out of bed. There work is supervised by a licensed nurse.
The audit also found that the Office of Health Care Quality had not inspected 53 percent, or 725 of the 1,367 licensed assisted-living facilities in fiscal year 2010.