New legislation would build off ‘Bradley Bills’

A package of bills scheduled to be filed in Dover today would prohibit medical professionals convicted of sexual felonies from being licensed in Delaware.

The six proposals would build off the Bradley Bills that overwhelmingly passed the General Assembly last year. Those bills grew out of separate reviews by the attorney general and governor’s offices after former Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley was arrested for allegedly molesting more than 100 children at his pediatric office.

The measures were designed to strengthen patient protections and improve oversight of the medical profession, and the bills being filed today would continue that. 

House Bill 45 would prohibit anyone convicted of a felony sexual offense from receiving a license to practice registered nursing. It also would permanently revoke the license of any nurse convicted of a felony sexual offense. Licensed medical professionals who fail to report child abuse or neglect would face discipline.

“I know how closely nurses work with the sick and the infirm,” said Rep. Rebecca Walker (D-Middletown), sponsor of HB 45 and a registered nurse. “Nurses are on the frontline of patient care every day and will continue to protect those who need them the most.”

House Bills 52 and 53 would carry the same prohibitions and penalties, but for mental health and chemical dependency professionals, and clinical social workers.

“What we learned from the Bradley situation was that we must all be held accountable,” said Rep. Michael Barbieri (D-Newark), bill sponsor and a licensed social worker. “Ignoring inappropriate behavior by a professional colleague is a dereliction of duty and makes us just as culpable as the person committing the act.”

The House bills have been assigned to the House Health and Human Development Committee.

Three more bills out of the Senate (Senate Bills 31, 32, 33) would carry the same prohibitions and penalties as the House bills, but for dentists, psychologists and physician assistants.

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