Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) have changed the landscape of medical care in the US, especially in rural and underserved areas. These medical providers play a leading role in keeping patients comfortable and pain-free during surgeries and medical procedures. They bring cost-effective services to facilities that might not otherwise be able to offer a wide range of procedures. CRNAs are experienced in patient care, with the AANA estimating that graduates of CRNA programs have an average of over 9,000 hours of clinical experience. But each year, some CRNAs face accusations of misconduct, and these allegations put their licenses and all those hours of training and work at risk.
CRNAs are most likely to face allegations of the following:
- Diversion of medication/failure to properly record.
- Substance abuse.
- Lack of competency or minimal care.
- Abuse of patients.
- Fraud, including falsification of credentials.
If you are a CRNA in Mississippi facing discipline, you need the experienced team at the Lento Law Firm. They have many years of experience in medical license defense, and in representing nurses, including advanced practice nurses. The earlier in the process that the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is involved, the more likely the process will end with the best outcome possible. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or provide your details online, and we will contact you.
Mississippi Board of Nursing Discipline Powers
The Mississippi Board of Nursing (BON or the Board) controls and oversees all licensing and discipline issues of CRNAs in Mississippi. The Board has wide latitude to take action against a nurse or advanced practice nurse.
Disciplinary Actions by the Board
The Board may take the following disciplinary actions against a CRNA:
- Formal Reprimand
- Restricted License.
- Order to Complete Education or Classes.
- Refusal to Renew.
The Board may also take the following non-disciplinary actions. These may not be reported to databases but may be discovered by a member of the public.
- Letter of Concern.
- Administrative affidavits.
- Mississippi Alternative Program (MAP).
Nurse License Compact (NLC)
Mississippi is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which means that Mississippi will share disciplinary records with all other NLC-compliant states. This may prevent you from practicing in another state after discipline in Mississippi.
This database allows the user to look up a nurses' disciplinary history. Other states may make decisions based on information contained in the Nursys database on disciplinary charges in Mississippi.
Please Note: Like any database, Nursys contains errors. If you are having issues with false information on Nursys, call the Lento Law Firm. We can help with these issues.
Other National Databases
Advanced Practice Nurses, such as CRNAs, are much more likely to end up in the National Practitioner Database, which records disciplinary actions and malpractice actions against medical providers.
With regard to all these databases, charges that originate in Mississippi are likely to affect your licensure in most other states. CRNAs have no choice but to fight charges where and when they arise, as these charges will “follow” the provider indefinitely.
Grounds for Sanctions in Mississippi
In Mississippi, actions against a CRNA license may be taken for Unprofessional Conduct, which includes:
- Lying or misrepresentation on the initial license application.
- Conviction of a felony.
- Conviction of any crime involving “moral turpitude,” including drug crimes, any sexual offense, domestic violence, or fraud.
- Conviction of a crime involving controlled substances.
- Exceeding the scope of your license.
- Practicing without a license.
- Failure to practice competently and responsibly.
- Failure to maintain confidentiality.
- Neglecting or abandoning a patient.
- Abusing patients physically, sexually, or verbally.
- Failure to maintain appropriate nurse-patient relationship.
- Intentional false billing.
- Use of mood-altering drugs.
- Refusal to comply with a drug screen.
- Selling or dealing controlled substances.
- Practicing while under the influence of alcohol.
- Failure to maintain records.
- Disciplinary action in another state.
- Inappropriately prescribing controlled substances.
- Bouncing a check to the Board.
The Complaint process follows a set pattern, but the process will not necessarily include any step after the Complaint itself. The Board may decide not to proceed, and if settlement occurs, the complaint will be over. It is up to the CRNA whether to proceed to a Hearing or any stage of Appeal.
Step One: The Complaint
Anyone may file a complaint against a CRNA in Mississippi, but most complaints are filed by patients, colleagues, or former employers. After receiving a complaint, the Board must give notice and an opportunity to respond to the accused nurse (this is often referred to as “due process”). This response is typically made in writing and is vitally important. The Board may decide to dismiss the complaint prior to any investigation or action based on your response. Before you respond to a complaint, get an experienced attorney to assist you. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help you formulate your Response to the allegations and give you the best chance of dismissal early in the process. The Response is your first chance to make a good impression, and even if the complaint proceeds to a hearing or settlement conference, this impression will be of critical importance.
Step Two: Investigation
If the Board chooses to proceed with the complaint against you, they will likely conduct an investigation. The Board will typically assign an investigator to the complaint and may ask to take your statement under oath. As with all stages, having counsel with you during this process is critical. Investigation files are confidential in Mississippi.
Step Three: Settlement Discussions
Following the investigation, the Board will set a settlement conference date and inform the CRNA. If the CRNA responds, the Board will typically send a draft of an Agreed Settlement Proposal. If the CRNA does not respond, the Board will proceed to the hearing process.
This negotiated settlement may involve a consent order or an agreement that the CRNA will undergo certain conditions, such as drug or alcohol evaluation or treatment or probation and monitoring. As a condition of settlement, the CRNA must admit to allegations and agree to accept penalties. These settlement discussions may include a variety of outcomes in which the nurse agrees to discipline and admits fault.
At this stage of negotiation, it is vitally important to have counsel. Your attorney will be able to advise you on whether you should accept a negotiated settlement or sign a consent order. Sometimes, your attorney has negotiated a better option than you might have expected. At other times, you may be in a better position if you fight the allegations. It just depends on the situation.
Step Four: Hearing
In Mississippi, initial hearings are held before 3 members of the Board, with an attorney from the Attorney General's Office acting as the Hearing Officer. This “prosecutor” will read the charge and ask you to plead guilty or not guilty. They will also determine what evidence to admit, and they may subpoena witnesses (issue a legal order for a witness to appear and give testimony at the Hearing).
Please note: Despite all this criminal language, this is an administrative proceeding and not a criminal trial. Such a proceeding may lead to a restricted or lost license or a fine but not a criminal conviction or jail time.
The Hearing will appear very much like an informal trial, with the parties making opening statements and presenting evidence. Your attorney will call and examine witnesses and will cross-examine witnesses presented by the Board. After closing arguments, the 3-person Board panel will issue a decision on your complaint.
Step Five: Appeal
If a CRNA is dissatisfied with the decision of the 3-person panel, they have the right to appeal the decision of the 3-person panel to the full Board. This hearing will look very much like the first hearing but will be before all members of the Board of Nursing.
The CRNA has the right to appeal the full Board's decision to the Chancery Court.
Step Six: Compliance
Depending on the nature of the settlement or the Board's decision, you may have to submit to ongoing oversight of your compliance with the Board's order.
Surrendering a License
A review of recent Mississippi Board of Nursing actions shows a pattern of voluntary surrender of CRNA licenses. If you are considering voluntarily surrendering your license, please contact the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team first. Sometimes, a CRNA will consider surrendering a license in one state and practicing in another state in which they hold a license. Or they may view surrender of a license as a way to avoid an embarrassing or drawn-out process of discipline. But voluntary surrender when facing accusations is generally not the best choice for nurses for two reasons:
- Your voluntary surrender will be reported to the National Practitioner Database and to Nursys. It is likely that other states in which you are licensed will become aware of the surrender of your license in Mississippi.
- Even more problematic, there is a good chance the voluntary surrender of your license in the face of charges will be reported to the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals. This will prevent a provider from working at any facility, hospital, or clinic that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding. In other words, it will exclude you from working in almost any healthcare facility in any capacity, anywhere in the US. Placement on this List is limited to those who either have a revocation of a provider license or a voluntary surrender in the face of allegations—it can be avoided by fighting the charges and avoiding the outright revocation of the CRNA license.
- Note: If you have issues with placement on the OIG List of Excluded Individuals, call the Lento Law Firm. It is better that we avoid your placement on this List, but we can help if that has already happened or is likely to happen.
Whatever you have been accused of, the Lento Law Firm Team can put together a defense. Do not give up the license you worked so hard to achieve—call us, and we can help.
Initial Denial of License or Remediation of CRNA Training
While this article emphasized the defense of a current CRNA license in Mississippi, the Lento Law Firm also represents those denied initial licensure as CRNAs and those who face remediation during CRNA training. A candidate who seeks to appeal the initial denial of a CRNA license must file a Notice of Appeal to the Board within 30 days. This appeal will be set for a hearing before a Board Hearing Panel, where the candidate has the burden of proof to show evidence why the initial denial should be overturned. If you are facing hurdles during your CRNA training or initial licensure, call the Lento Law Firm.
Why You Should Hire the Lento Law Firm Team
Attorneys at the Lento Law Firm are some of the most experienced license defense counsel in the country. They have represented countless medical professionals, including doctors, nurse practitioners, and CRNAs.
Representing medical professionals in many states is complicated—every state has a slightly different process and rules. But the Lento Law Firm knows these rules and is comfortable defending a nursing license in Mississippi.
Whether you are working in Jackson, Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, or Southaven, the Lento Law Firm can represent you in defending your Mississippi CRNA license.
How Does the Lento Law Firm Defend You?
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will be with you every step of the way as we defend your license and reputation. The Lento Law Firm will:
- Review the complaint against you and advise you of the best course of action.
- Represent you before the Board at all stages of the Complaint Process.
- Plan your defense by gathering evidence and witnesses that support your version of events.
- Negotiate with the Board for a reduction in discipline or dismissal of the complaint.
- Advise you as to the merit of settling your claims or signing a consent order.
- Plan for compliance or reinstatement.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team will lead the defense of your license, negotiating with the State and otherwise seeking the best possible resolution to your case. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your details online, and we will contact you.