Hundreds of Twin Cities nursing assistant students will have to retake exams after health officials found "suspicious patterns" in test results.
The Minnesota Department of Health announced Tuesday it will require 569 students to take the tests again in order to become federally qualified nursing assistants.
Anomalies were found in results from Inver Hills Community College for Professional and Workforce Development, and its satellite center at Blue Sky Online in West St. Paul, between May 1, 2014 and Oct. 16, 2015.
Testing has been "discontinued" at both these locations while an investigation into the results is carried out.
Certified nursing assistants provide care services in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and hospitals. They carry out tasks including taking vital signs, making beds and helping patients with dressing and bathing.
"We have an obligation to ensure that these workers meet the basic requirements," said Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Gil Acevedo. “Since nursing assistants must be supervised and receive specialized training after hiring and prior to working with patients, there is a relatively low risk to patients. Regardless, it is important to re-establish the credentials of these nursing assistants as quickly as possible without causing an undue disruption for workers, employers, or patients."
Tim Wynes, President of Inver Hills Community College, said he "looks forward to the results of the investigation," noting they suspended testing services "as soon as potential improprieties were noted."
Assistants who took the tests during the time period above can keep on working, but will need to retake their tests by March 31, 2016. If they don't, they'll be ineligible to work in federal nursing homes or board and care homes.