By Jon Delano

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A glitch in software necessary to verify the completion of educational training in the health sciences caused a delay in licensing from the Pennsylvania Licensing System — or PALS — with real consequences for local graduates looking to start a new job.

One recent Allegheny County Community College graduate told KDKA she could not start her job at a local hospital this month because of the problem.

“The state’s online system for obtaining medical licenses is keeping people from being able to start working, despite them completing all of their schooling and submitting the proper documentation for the license,” her husband wrote to KDKA. “The system is called PALS and has been plagued with issues since its conception. Right now there are at least a dozen CCAC graduates, most likely more than that and even more across the state, that were supposed to start working at local hospitals the first week of January but are not allowed.”

The software issue developed around Christmas but was unknown to the state until recently.

It has now been corrected.

Officials at the Pennsylvania Department of State that oversees PALS told KDKA, “We did have a temporary problem with a legacy software system called eppiccNurse in late December. On Jan. 11, six nursing schools, including CCAC, reported to the Department processing delays for a small group of students. The software problem was fixed on January 14, 2019, and the system has been performing well since then. Current processing time is 19 days.”

“When the Department discovered the system issue, we worked quickly to fix it. In this situation, we received notification that students had completed their program on Dec. 31. Licensing is a multi-step process for applicants that includes passing their nursing boards. Therefore, a license or temporary practice permit could not be issued by the first week of January. We look forward to working with the students to complete the licensing process, so they can begin their careers.”

The PA Department of State tells KDKA that it intends to replace the eppiccNurse software by the end of the year.