Top Los Angeles County health officials try to explain how an ex-cop convicted of rape under the color of authority was twice hired to work in public hospitals.
LOS ANGELES -- Top Los Angeles County health officials tried Tuesday to explain how an ex-cop convicted of rape under the color of authority was twice hired to work in public hospitals.
Gariner Beasley was fired in August after it was reported that he was among scores of employees with criminal records working at the former Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center -- what the former King-Drew Medical Center became, after the county moved to close it due to potentially life-threatening mistakes and at least two preventable deaths.
But Beasley, 48, managed to get hired through a staffing company that assigned him to the Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Health Center.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich demanded a report on the matter last week.
William Fujioka, the county's chief executive, told the board Beasley was fired again Tuesday.
He said Beasley was hired by Mediscan Staffing Services and assigned to Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Health Center for 15-18 days, starting in late December.
Reports delivered by Fujioka and interim Health Services Director John Schunhoff placed the blame for Beasley's rehiring on the shoulders of an unnamed supervisor at Roybal, who failed to do a "Live Scan" background check for convictions in accordance with county policies.
"Any policy is only as good as people who ensure and comply with that policy," Fujioka said. "This is a clear instance where a policy was in place, where training was conducted, where an individual was asked to actually sign, stating that she administered the department's policy but who, for whatever reason, chose not to comply with that policy."
Supervisor Gloria Molina wanted immediate punishment for the unnamed person and blasted Schunhoff for putting the supervisor on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Antonovich and others expressed a wish to see the person fired.
Fujioka, however, wanted to err on the side of caution, saying the county needed to be thorough in such a high-profile case.
"In this instance, it's important to make sure all the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed, and it's as sound and tight as possible," Fujioka said.
Even before slipping through the cracks at Roybal, Beasley managed to skate past a criminal background check and application process at Mediscan.
Val Serebryany, president of Mediscan, told The Times that Beasley passed all of his required background checks.
When asked on his application why he left his position with the county, Beasley said he had received a promotion, Molina said, adding that such a strange answer should have raised a red flag.
"He said he was terminated. He started working for the registry the following week, and the reason he left L.A. County was because of a promotion? You think somebody would question that," she said.
"This is a situation where this individual lied on his application to the registry, but they also had a responsibility of due diligence to us to at least have some information on there and even ask some basic questions," Molina said.
As a result of the investigation into Beasley, the county is not accepting employees from Mediscan, Fujioka said.
Molina said that Beasley's rehiring pointed out flaws, at several levels, in the county's hiring process. She criticized "the ineptness of the personnel at the Department of Health Services" in failing to screen Beasley properly.
Beasley managed to become a state-licensed health care provider without being stopped for being a felon, Molina said. He apparently also was hired without being given an identification badge, she said.
Antonovich and Molina asked Fujioka to establish a protocol for staffing agencies to use when doing background checks for placing workers at county agencies. That report, due in two weeks, is supposed to include recommendations for ensuring all licensed health care professionals undergo criminal background checks.
The Antonovich-Molina motion also calls for the county Office of Public Safety to tighten security at public health facilities, requiring that all personnel wear ID badges.
A county audit disclosed last summer that 11 percent of the staff at King-Harbor hospital, where Beasley previously worked, had serious criminal records.