The Professional License Defense Team of the Lento Law Firm Is Here to Safeguard Your CNA Accreditation in Colorado.
As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Colorado, you invested time and money into building a career based on helping people. Your certification was not easily won, and you work long hours because of your passion. It can therefore feel like quite a blow to discover that someone has filed a complaint against you, and the Colorado Board of Nursing is now investigating you. But it's more than that: if the Board finds any evidence to support the complaint, it could mean the loss of your certification and possibly your career.
Whether the complaint is due to a misunderstanding, a false accusation, or a genuine misstep, it can be deeply disconcerting to realize that all you've worked for could be erased in an instant. The Board is obligated to review every complaint and implement suitable disciplinary actions to maintain public safety and health. Your CNA certification is your professional lifeline, paving the way for job opportunities in various healthcare environments like hospitals, physicians' offices, and nursing homes. Without this certification, your career comes to an abrupt halt.
The Lento Law Firm: A Lifeline for Your CNA Career
Despite the seriousness of the circumstances, a complaint does not necessarily spell the end of your professional journey. Hiring an experienced professional license defense attorney at the earliest indication of a problem can significantly improve your odds of successfully resolving the complaint. The Professional License Defense Team of the Lento Law Firm has extensive experience helping CNAs nationwide navigate through disciplinary investigations like yours. With their thorough knowledge of the Board's procedures and superior negotiation skills, they are primed to fight for the most favorable outcome for your case. To schedule a consultation, reach out to the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.
How CNAs Are Regulated in Colorado
Certified Nursing Assistants (or Certified Nurse Aides, as they are called in Colorado) are regulated by the Colorado Board of Nursing--which, in turn, is overseen by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The Board oversees the licensing and certification of all nursing professions in the state, including CNAs.
To become a CNA, individuals must earn a high school diploma or its equivalent, then complete a state-approved training program and pass the Colorado Nursing Assistant Exam. Every two years, CNAs are required to renew their certification or license. This typically involves demonstrating ongoing proficiency through work experience and continuing education. In some cases, nursing assistants employed at home health agencies or nursing homes must be certified within four months of employment.
The Nurse and Nurse Aides Practice Act is the Colorado law that governs safe nursing practices in Colorado. It outlines the standards by which CNAs and other nursing professionals must operate. Any violations of these standards can lead to disciplinary action by the Board, which can range from issuing a Letter of Admonition to suspending or revoking a CNA's certification.
Allegations That Can Jeopardize Your CNA Accreditation in Colorado
CNAs in Colorado are required to adhere to rigorous ethical and professional norms detailed in the Nurse and Nurse Aides Practice Act. Most allegations that could jeopardize your credentials have something to do with a violation of this law or other rules established by the Colorado Board of Nursing. Instances of misconduct that could potentially result in the revocation of your certification include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual Misconduct: Unbecoming sexual behavior or consensual amorous relationships with patients can result in the loss of CNA credentials due to the ethical issues involved, as well as the breach of trust between the healthcare practitioner and patient.
- Drug Mismanagement: Deviations from medication administration protocols, such as unauthorized or fraudulent prescriptions, diversion of patients' medications, drug abuse, or inadequate inventory control, can lead to disciplinary measures.
- Substance Abuse: Drug use or excessive alcohol consumption can jeopardize your CNA certification because these can cast doubt on your ability to care for patients safely. (Not to mention being impaired on the job could result in termination from any position you happen to hold.)
- Patient Maltreatment or Neglect: Any form of patient abuse or endangerment can put your CNA certification at risk.
- Fraud: Dishonest practices like altering patient records, misrepresenting qualifications, or submitting inflated bills to insurers can lead to the loss of your CNA credentials.
- Criminal Convictions: Convictions (past or present) for felonies, violent crimes, or other crimes of moral turpitude can disqualify you from practicing as a CNA in Colorado. Failure to self-report any criminal conviction to the Board could also lead to disciplinary action, even if the crime itself would not have resulted in discipline.
Less Severe Disciplinary Measures
While any allegation of misconduct has the potential to result in the revocation of your CNA credentials, the Board often chooses milder disciplinary measures depending on the specifics of the alleged offense and the corroborating evidence. Potential sanctions include:
- Probation or Practice Limitations: The Board may restrict certain activities or place you under supervision.
- Fines: The Board may levy a monetary penalty.
- Continuing Education: The Board may mandate you to complete further training or continuing education courses as part of your probation requirements.
- Reprimand/Letter of Admonition: For minor offenses, the Board may issue a formal warning, which may or may not appear on your professional record and doesn't limit your ability to practice.
Consequences of Disciplinary Action on Your Career
As a CNA in Colorado, even minor disciplinary actions can have negative effects on your career. Most disciplinary actions will be publicly noted on your file. Potential employers may conduct a state license search for any disciplinary actions on your license, which could impact their hiring decision. The optimal way to avoid this consequence is to prevent an outcome that results in official disciplinary actions. The Lento Law Firm Team can often negotiate for a resolution that helps you maintain a clean, professional record.
Alternative-to-Discipline Programs for CNAs in Colorado
If your alleged misconduct occurred due to substance abuse, physical health, or mental health issues, the Board may allow you to avoid disciplinary action by voluntarily participating in an alternative-to-discipline program through the state Peer Health Assistance Program. These programs offer a route to recovery that enables CNAs to continue their practice while maintaining their health and well-being. Participants may be required to undergo treatment, counseling, regular drug testing, and work restrictions or supervision. Successful completion of the program can result in no formal disciplinary action being taken.
Areas We Serve in Colorado
In the State of Colorado, there are a great many employment opportunities for CNAs to help alleviate the strains on the healthcare system. As such, demand runs consistently high for nurses and nurse aides statewide. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team provides representation for CNAs, nurses, and other licensed professionals throughout the entire state of Colorado who are facing license and credential defense issues. While we are capable of assisting CNAs in every town and municipality across Colorado, our client base is primarily concentrated in the state's major population centers. These centers include, but are not limited to, the following locations:
Denver/Denver Metropolitan Area
Widely known as the "Mile High City" (elevation 5280 ft), Denver is both the capital city of Colorado and its largest city, renowned for its vibrant cultural scene and natural beauty. Nestled against the Rocky Mountains, Denver offers an eclectic mix of attractions, from its historic downtown district to its thriving arts and music scenes. While Denver proper is home to more than 700,000, the Denver Metro Area extends beyond the city, encompassing numerous suburban communities, including Aurora, Lakewood, Arvada, Broomfield, Littleton, and others. The combined population of this area exceeds 3 million (more than half the state's total population), and the population of Denver has grown by nearly 20 percent over the past decade. The Denver Metro Area has a robust economy, with strong sectors in aerospace, telecommunications, and technology. Main healthcare systems and facilities serving this area include Denver Health, University of Colorado Anschutz, HealthONE, Centura, National Jewish Health, Intermountain Health, Kaiser Permanente, and others.
The second-largest city in Colorado, Colorado Springs is located at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains in the shadow of the famed Pike's Peak. Home to nearly half a million people, this area is acclaimed for its natural beauty and offers plenty of outdoor activities and attractions year-round. Major healthcare systems here include UCHealth and Centura.
Fort Collins/Loveland/Northern Front Range
Tucked in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a college town situated on the banks of the Cache La Poudre River. Home to 170,000, this area offers an array of outdoor activities, vibrant nightlife and dining, and multiple cultural attractions. It's also home to Colorado State University, which contributes to the town's youthful energy and lively cultural scene. Nearby Loveland, CO, is also celebrated for its thriving arts scene and beautiful scenery. Healthcare systems in this area include UCHealth and Banner Health.
Located at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills, Boulder is renowned as a hub for tech startups and outdoorsy types alike. With a population of more than 104,000 people, this city is home to a vibrant cultural scene with plenty of music, art, and theater options. Healthcare facilities serving this area include Boulder Community Health/Foothills Hospital and UCHealth Boulder.
Grand Junction/Western Slope
The largest town on the Western Slope—the area of Colorado west of the Rocky Mountains—Grand Junction is situated along the Gunnison River near the Utah border. Home to more than 66,000, this area is known for its scenic desert and mountain landscape and offers plenty of outdoor activities year-round. Healthcare facilities in the area include St. Mary's Hospital Medical Center and Family Health West.
Situated on the banks of the Arkansas River, Pueblo is the heart of Colorado's "Steel City," thanks to its long-standing steel industry. With a population of more than 110,000 people, this city offers plenty of cultural and recreational activities. Main healthcare facilities in the area include Parkview Medical Center and Centura St. Mary Corwin Hospital.
Understanding the Disciplinary Procedure for CNAs in Colorado
The Department of Regulatory Agencies has a systematic protocol in place when it comes to the enforcement and disciplinary actions of credentialed professionals in Colorado. The Board of Nursing abides by this process as well. If you're a CNA in Colorado facing allegations of professional misconduct, you can expect the disciplinary process to unfold via a series of steps as follows.
The journey begins when a complaint against you is registered with the Board. Any member of the public can lodge a complaint--however, for CNAs, accusations primarily originate from patients, their family members, colleagues, other healthcare professionals, or anyone who believes there has been a violation of nursing standards.
Review of Complaint
The Board will conduct an initial review of the complaint to determine its validity and decide whether there is probable cause that a violation has occurred. If the complaint is not considered valid or within the Board's jurisdiction, the matter will be dropped.
For certain allegations, especially minor offenses, the Board may conduct its own internal investigation of the complaint. For more serious or egregious allegations, they will turn the matter over to DORA's Office of Investigations. An investigator is assigned to fact-find and determines whether sufficient evidence exists to corroborate the complaint. This phase typically involves interviewing the complainant and potential witnesses, subpoenaing relevant documents, and other investigative pursuits.
Board Review and Determination
The Board will review the results of the investigation to see whether there is enough evidence to warrant disciplinary action. They will then make a determination of what sanctions or actions, if any, they believe should be taken against your CNA certification. This can range from a Letter of Admonition (i.e., a reprimand) to full revocation of your credentials.
If sufficient evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered during the investigation, the matter may be referred to the Office of Expedited Settlement (ESP) to negotiate a resolution based on the Board's determination. (This is comparable to a "consent agreement" or "consent order" process done by many states.) If you agree with the terms and the determination, you'll sign a stipulation agreeing to submit the Board's recommended actions. While this is effectively an admission of guilt, it can also be an opportunity to negotiate for lenient terms and/or a path toward restoration of your credentials. The Lento Law Firm Team can be instrumental in negotiating favorable terms at this stage.
If you decide to dispute the Board's decision and refuse to sign the stipulation, the matter is referred to the Attorney General for a formal hearing. It's strongly advised that you have legal representation at this hearing, as it is your final opportunity to present your side of the story with any corroborating evidence. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the Board may modify its decision and/or determine a different course of action.
Once all parties have reached an agreement or a final determination has been made following hearings and appeals, the disciplinary process is officially complete. At this point, you must comply with any imposed sanctions or other stipulations as required. The Board will then update their records and the CNA's status.
Throughout this disciplinary process, there are multiple opportunities where a good license defense attorney can negotiate a positive resolution, potentially averting a formal hearing. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm excels in such negotiations, often enabling clients to resolve complaints before they escalate to the advanced stages.
Cross-State Certification and Disciplinary Consequences
While Colorado is a participant in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) facilitating multi-state licenses for nurses, Certified Nurse Aides are not technically nurses and are not included in this compact. As such, if you aspire to practice as a CNA across multiple states, it's typically necessary to acquire separate certifications or endorsements for each respective state. Importantly, disciplinary actions initiated against you in one state can impact your CNA certification in another. For instance, should you apply for CNA credentials in Colorado following disciplinary proceedings in a different state, the Colorado Board of Nursing may review the public records of that state to determine whether any disciplinary action has been taken against you. Similarly, any disciplinary actions imposed on you by the Colorado Board of Nursing will be publicly available, potentially jeopardizing your chances of securing certification in other states and possibly affecting your existing certifications across multiple states.
Given the complexities involved in managing disciplinary proceedings across various states, the assistance of a professional license defense firm with a nationwide presence can prove invaluable if you work in more than one state. The Lento Law Firm Team provides defense services for CNAs across the United States, offering guidance through potential disciplinary actions in multiple jurisdictions. Additionally, by getting us involved early in the disciplinary process, we can often negotiate a favorable resolution that can prevent negative actions from appearing in your file when applying for certification in other states.
Safeguarding Your CNA Certification With the Lento Law Firm
For CNAs in Colorado accused of professional misconduct, the presumption of innocence doesn't apply. The Board's primary obligation is to protect public safety, and they possess the authority to impose disciplinary measures based on a preponderance of evidence. Consequently, attempting to address a complaint without the support of seasoned legal representation can put you at a significant disadvantage and heighten the risk of damaging actions being taken against your credentials.
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can significantly bolster your chances of maintaining your CNA certification while also reducing any other potential career setbacks. We scrutinize the facts and evidence, evaluate the strength of the complaint against you, assist in gathering supporting evidence, organize witnesses if needed, and negotiate the most favorable resolution terms with the Board. In many cases, we can help resolve the complaint before it advances to a formal hearing. However, should it proceed to that stage, we also know how to effectively present your case for the most beneficial outcome.
Reliable Professional License Attorney for Colorado CNAs
Don't underestimate the risks involved when a complaint is filed against you with the Board of Nursing. Even supposedly minor offenses or misunderstandings can result in lasting consequences for your career. If you're a CNA in Colorado facing allegations of misconduct, engaging a professional license attorney early in the process can greatly improve your prospects of a positive outcome.
The Lento Law Firm Team brings a wealth of experience to your defense, having successfully represented numerous individuals in your same situation across the country. Our team will tirelessly work to protect both your CNA certification and your career. To discuss your case and explore your options, contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or reach out via our online contact form.