The Arizona State Board of Nursing is investigating nurses with education credentials from several now-closed Florida nursing schools, federal officials allege sold fake nursing degrees and fraudulent transcripts.
If you attended one of the involved Florida nursing schools, then your Arizona nursing license may be at risk of suspension and revocation. National professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's License Defense Team are available in Arizona with the skill and experience to help you overcome your nursing license issues. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.
Florida Nursing School Officials Face Fraud Charges
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami, Florida, has filed criminal fraud charges against Florida nursing school officials alleged to have sold thousands of fake degrees and transcripts. More than 7,600 aspiring nurses, many minority immigrants, entered other nursing schools and earned nursing degrees using the suspect credentials, federal officials allege. Many also used the credentials to qualify for the NCLEX exam and get state nursing licenses, including nurses licensed in Arizona. The Department of Health & Human Services' Operation Nightingale names these now-closed Florida nursing schools as involved in the alleged fraud scheme:
- Siena College;
- Sacred Heart International Institute;
- MedLife Institute West Palm Beach;
- Palm Beach School of Nursing;
- Quisqueya Health Care Academy; and
- Quisqueya School of Nursing also called Sunshine Academy.
Arizona State Licensing Board Investigations
According to an Arizona State Board of Nursing press release, the Board has not received reports of any injuries from unqualified nursing relating to the scandal. But the Board admits that it has flagged the licenses of several Arizona nurses in the National Council of State Boards of Nursing nationwide data system. Depending on the results of disciplinary investigations, those Arizona nurses could not only lose their Arizona nursing license but also be unable to enter nursing practice nationwide. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing states that licensing boards nationwide are taking similar actions while cooperating with federal Operation Nightingale officials.
Arizona State Nursing Board Authority
Arizona's Nurse Practice Act ensures the appropriate examination and educational credentials of nurses who desire to practice in Arizona. The Act establishes the Arizona State Board of Nursing to set education and other standards, issue licenses, and take disciplinary action against those licenses in appropriate cases. The Nurse Practice Act requires that license applicants verify their credentials. Misrepresentation of those credentials can lead to discipline under the Act, including license suspension and revocation. The Board must generally follow the state's administrative hearing procedures when attempting to revoke a license. But the Board has plenty of authority for its current investigations of Arizona nurses with suspect credentials from the involved Florida nursing schools.
Employer Notices Relating to the Fraud Scandal
Healthcare employers in Arizona and nationwide owe similar duties to protect the public and their patients against unqualified nursing practice. Employers have thus been notifying their nurse employees who hold credentials from the involved Florida nursing schools. Like the state board notices, employers are warning nurses that their suspect credentials may bar them from nursing practice if they cannot prove their credentials' credibility. Some employers are outright terminating involved nurses, while others are referring their nurses to state licensing officials or offering their own disciplinary process.
Arizona License Defense Services Available
If you are among the Arizona nurses facing state licensing board investigation or employer investigation, then you need skilled and experienced license defense representation. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is available in Arizona to fight for your nursing license and employment. Attorney Lento has successfully represented hundreds of professionals nationwide with their professional license issues. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for Arizona nursing license defense services.