The president of the Georgia Board of Nursing said his agency is not being properly funded, which is putting the health and safety of patients at risk.
Barry Cranfill blamed state lawmakers who, he said, are not allocating the legally-required funds to professional licensing boards.
According to Cranfill, the Board of Nursing received only half of the $4 million it collected from licensing fees during fiscal year 2011-12. According to Georgia code, 100 percent of the fees should be distributed to fund board operations.
The remainder stayed in the state's general fund to be used for other purposes.
As a result, Cranfill said the nursing board has a two-year backlog in disciplining bad nurses.
Rep. Sharon Cooper, chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said lawmakers cut funding to professional licensing boards to avoid cuts to education and Medicaid.
"There's a problem but I truly believe it's not a problem because people want to misappropriate the funds, I think we've been in such a long recession they're just trying to keep us from bleeding," said Cooper.
Cranfill said he has asked the Georgia Nurses Association, a private membership group, to sue the board to force lawmakers to reinstate the funding. A GNA spokesman said the association is only pursuing legislative - not legal - options right now.
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