Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, has asked the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to complete an audit before the end of this year on the policies and procedures of adopting, updating and installing new electronic processing systems within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).
Last fall, the DCA began unrolling a new paperless system called BreEZe - a process that will eventually include all 37 boards and bureaus overseen by the Department. According to DCA, this system will provide improved access to services, greater ease of use for stakeholders and improved back-office functionality, which will enhance licensing and enforcement efficiency. Unfortunately, the exact opposite has occurred thus far with the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN).
Since the BRN’s implementation of BreEZe, a number of nursing students, teachers and hospital administrators have experienced a great deal of difficulty with its licensing process. Recent graduates of nursing programs are unable to have their applications processed in a timely manner, or to secure local jobs.
“Due to delays, graduates are unable to take their licensing exam or obtain their licenses expeditiously – even those who have job offers – and hospitals remain understaffed,” Olsen said. “We should be able to save consumers and businesses time and money by moving processes online and streamlining bureaucracy through technology. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred with the BRN, and we need to find out why these problems have become a consistent pattern.”
Difficulty in implementing new technology systems has become an ongoing problem in California State agencies. Last fall, the Employment Development Department (EDD) upgraded its internet technology system, which resulted in delayed unemployment benefit payments to roughly 150,000 California residents. In October of last year, Covered California was unable to process many applications online after its launch, and had to shut its website down while trouble shooting.
“When costly and time-consuming internet technology projects are in the planning, development and implementation stages, the state should take active measures to overcome past failures,” Olsen said. “Instead, the state has had one failure after another when it comes to technology. It is past time to find out why.”
Assemblymember Kristin Olsen represents the 12th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties in the Central Valley.