A CRNA is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. In the State of Kansas, this is considered a type of Advanced Practice Nurse. As a CRNA, you've worked hard to get where you are. You spent a lot of time and money to complete your education, followed by the rigorous process of state board examinations and licensure applications. This shows dedication to your profession and to providing lifesaving support to patients in need.
As a CRNA, your career is at risk in the event of an allegation of wrongdoing against you. A complaint by a patient or colleague could lead to an investigation, discipline, suspension, or even loss of licensure. Not every allegation has to be career-ending. Some complaints may be frivolous or unfounded. There may be mitigating circumstances. Here at the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team, we understand how much your career as a CRNA means to you, and we are here to protect you. We will step in and protect you throughout the investigation process. If you have been accused of a license violation, you need the best legal representation to ensure that you are protected and can continue in the career that you love and worked so hard to earn. Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team at 888-535-3686 right away, or tell us about your situation online, to get the advice and representation that you need.
What Kind of Disciplinary Action Could You Be Facing in Kansas?
The disciplinary process is a bit different in Kansas than it is in other areas of the country because the State of Kansas has opted out of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology's supervision program. Instead, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in Kansas are governed by the Kansas Board of Nursing.
What Happens if a Complaint is Filed Against Me?
Disciplinary action procedures vary a bit from state to state, but the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is familiar with them all. With the Kansas Board of Nursing, most investigations are triggered when an employer files a report as part of their peer review process under the Risk Management Act. Under this act, employers are legally required to report any behavior that doesn't meet the standard of care, or that could cause harm to a patient.
A complaint can be filed by anyone – a patient, family member, another health care provider, or a law enforcement officer – but the majority of complaints come from the CRNA's employer. The Kansas Board of Nursing employs licensed nurses who are tasked with investigating the complaints that are filed. It's their job to collect medical records and disciplinary records, conduct interviews, and summarize all available information. The CRNA being interviewed has the opportunity to submit evidence during this time.
The investigation process typically takes around 6-9 months. However, many factors can impact the timeline. Tracking down records and waiting for those records to be provided, locating witnesses, relying on them to provide testimony, and many other factors can all affect the process.
After all the information has been collected, the next step is for the Investigative Committee to meet and review the case. The Investigative Committee is made up of three board members who meet at least four times a year. When they meet, they review the case and decide how to proceed.
Possible Outcomes of an Investigation
Following those initial steps, the board will make a decision about what to do with your file. While not every decision results in formal disciplinary action, the outcomes can include the following:
- Call for Hearing or Summary Denial
- Inactivation Due to In-House or Self-Imposed Education Actions
- Non-Discipline Probation Agreements
- Agreements to Obtain Specific CNE Courses
- Referrals to the Impaired Provider Program
After the board has reviewed the case and made a decision, they will notify the licensee in writing of their decision. To better understand what these potential decisions mean and how they can impact you, you should speak with The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team right away.
The Investigation and Discipline Process
Under the Kansas Administrative Procedure Act (KAPA), you have the right to due process. That means that, among other things, you are entitled to reasonable notice, representation, and a fair hearing.
If formal discipline is considered to be merited in a particular case, the licensee will be notified in one of two ways. First, a Summary Order, which is a document that outlines the facts of the case and the reasons for taking action on a license, could be issued. If you disagree with the Summary Order, you can request a hearing. The second route for the process is that a petition may be filed by the Attorney General. This petition also outlines the facts of the case, and it asks that some type of action be taken on the license.
When the Attorney General files a petition or the licensee requests a hearing, the matter will be set for a hearing, and a notice will be issued that indicates the time and date of the hearing. You have the right to request a continuance, which means that the hearing will be postponed until a later date. However, if you don't request a continuance and don't show up to the hearing, a judgment can be made against you without any further opportunity for you to defend yourself. It is essential that you attend or request a continuance. Throughout this process, you have the right to have an attorney represent you. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team knows this process and will guide you through it.
The time period prior to the hearing consists of a phase known as “discovery.” During this time, the attorneys for the Nursing Board and the licensee exchange documents, including medical records, statements, and more.
At the time of the hearing, you and your attorney can submit evidence and call witnesses. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing office will make a decision and issue a written order. The order will state whether any sanctions are being imposed against your professional license.
What Can Happen to Me?
If it is determined that you have made a violation, the Kansas Board of Nursing has the authority to “deny, revoke, suspend, limit, or publicly or privately censure a license. The Board may also levy fines (K.S.A.74-1110) against a license. The first offense is not to exceed $1,000.00, second offense is not to exceed $2,000.00, and third and subsequent offenses are not to exceed $3,000.00.” You can also be held responsible for court costs. These fines and the suspension or revocation of your license can have a huge impact on your life, career, and financial well-being. This is not the time to try to fight your own battle; you need the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team to protect you.
In some cases, you might be offered an informal resolution instead of fines, suspension, or revocation of your professional license. An informal resolution might be a written agreement wherein you promise to meet certain conditions or obtain additional education. Such an agreement is legally binding. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team may be able to help you avoid formal discipline and obtain an informal resolution instead.
The ultimate concern is the possibility of license revocation. However, that is not the only potential outcome. Disciplinary boards can hand out a variety of penalties based on the facts of the case, including the following:
- License suspension. Your license could be suspended for a particular length of time. In most cases, a suspension is for a limited period of time, and the license is eligible for reinstatement when that period is up.
- License restriction. In this case, you would keep your license, but the scope of your practice may be limited; for example, you could be prohibited from providing specific services but could still practice within the boundaries of those restrictions.
- Monetary fines. You may be required to pay a monetary fine
- Mandatory continuing education. The disciplinary board might require you to undergo additional continuing education or training in order to keep your license.
- Reprimand. You could receive a formal reprimand from the disciplinary board.
As you can see, not every case ends in the loss of licensure; there are various penalties and potential outcomes. However, even a lesser penalty can impact your career. Disciplinary actions against you are routinely made a matter of public record, and potential future employers would be able to access that information.
If you are the subject of an investigation or complaint, it is imperative that you hire an experienced professional license defense attorney as soon as possible. It's important to get ahead of the case right away so that you can preserve your rights, be properly defended, and have your license and career protected.
Can I Appeal?
If you don't like the Board's decision, you have the right to appeal to the District Court. However, keep in mind that both sides have the right to appeal. If the findings are in your favor, the other side can appeal, too. This is one more reason why it is so important to have the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team on your side.
There is a limited amount of time in which you can file an appeal. After that window has closed, your opportunity to file an appeal is gone. If there is an appeal, the District Court reviews the records (but does not conduct a new hearing), makes a decision, and issues an order. If either party is not satisfied with that order, they can appeal again to the Court of Appeals or State Supreme Court. Again, there are very specific procedures and timelines for filing appeals. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will guide you through this process.
Not every case has to end in a disciplinary action. If the complaint is unfounded, the board has the option to dismiss it at any point. However, you need the best Professional License Defense Team on your side to help you demonstrate to the board that the complaint should be dismissed.
Protect Your Career with a Professional License Defense Attorney
If your license has been revoked, it may not be too late. In some cases, it is possible to have it reinstated. This is a tricky process, but the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will guide you through it and increase your chances of reinstatement. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team knows the ins and outs of professional licensing and administrative law, and they understand what is at stake. We will work together to help you understand the situation and develop the best possible defense strategy so that you can get your license back as quickly as possible and get back to practicing your profession.
If you are notified of an investigation into your license, reach out to the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team right away. This will allow you and your attorney plenty of time to look into the allegations and either have them dismissed or minimize the penalties.
Becoming a CRNA is an admirable and important career choice. The State of Kansas needs good CRNAs, and we want to make sure that you are protected from frivolous complaints. We're here to defend you and make sure that you can continue your work as a medical professional. If there have been allegations against you, reach out to the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team right away.
Take action to save your license today. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case and your options with someone who has the experience to get the best possible result. You can also complete our contact form, and we will get in touch with you promptly.