Indiana Senate approves background checks for veterinarians
Indiana legislators want all healthcare professionals to undergo background checks prior to licensure.
-- Veterinarians will be among those required to undergo criminal background checks as part of the licensing process if the Indiana House of Representatives and the governor approve a new Senate bill.
SB 363, introduced Jan. 11 and passed 48-2 by the state Senate Feb. 14, will require criminal background checks for all licensed health professionals in Indiana, including veterinarians, according to the bill.
Currently, licensed health professionals in Indiana only are required to self-report arrests and convictions. Sen. Patricia Miller, author of the bill, says this system leaves the public too vulnerable. Miller points out that of the 200 professional permits regulated in the state, only real estate appraisers, security guards and private investigators now are required to under criminal history checks.
"In order to protect our Hoosier patients and families, we must ensure our workers in the health industry are held to the highest of expectations and standards," says Miller, a registered nurse. "This legislation would help reveal those individuals with criminal backgrounds in the licensing process."
Under the new law, veterinarians, like other healthcare professionals, who are applying for a license for the first time would have to undergo a national criminal background check and fingerprinting by the Indiana State Police. The information and fingerprints would be submitted by the state police to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and any convictions after the background check would be reported to the appropriate licensing body, which would then make a decision on the status of the individual’s licensed based on the conviction.
The background checks would not be required for licensed professionals seeking to renew their licenses, according to Miller's office.
The bill was referred to the state House of Representatives Feb. 14 for further consideration.