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The state's Board of Registered Nursing may be letting bad nurses go undetected, according to a new State Auditor report released Tuesday.

The auditor found that through July 2016, at least 184 complaints against registered nurses, which include practitioners and specialists, were still waiting to be assigned to nursing board investigators.

About 40 percent of those complaints involve "high-priority allegations" such as patient death or criminal activity. Complaints come from a variety of sources, such as patients and the media.

"Unnecessary delays in the complaint resolution process enable nurses who are the subject of serious allegations to continue practicing and may risk patient safety," the report reads.

Veronica Harms, a spokeswoman with the state's Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the nursing board, said that as of Nov. 15, all the complaints cited in the report are now being looked at by nursing board investigators.

"We don't have a backlog, they're all being reviewed," she said.

However, reviewing each complaint could take some time. DCA has an 18-month goal for processing complaints.

Harms said the nursing board has already met with the attorney general's office.

The report recommends an action plan by March 2017 to fix any outstanding issues.