The Lento Law Firm Defends District of Columbia Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs)
The District of Columbia offers abundant rewarding employment opportunities for certified nurse aides (CNAs) who maintain their registration in good standing in the District's Nurse Aide Registry. With a population of over 700,000 individuals, the District of Columbia includes many individuals having medical and residential care needs that nurse aides can address with competence. The District's medical facilities like George Washington University Hospital, District of Columbia Health & Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Inova Fairfax Hospital employ dozens of CNAs for critical patient care, while home health agencies like MedStar Health Home Care, Human Touch Home Health, and Berhan Home Healthcare Agency employ many more CNAs for residential services.
District of Columbia certified nurse aides can also attend District of Columbia nursing schools at Georgetown University, George Washington University, the Catholic University of America, Howard University, Trinity Washington University, and other colleges and universities. The District of Columbia's Board of Nursing stands at the ready to help you move from your current CNA registration toward LPN, RN, and advanced practice nursing licensure.
You can lose all those rich employment and nursing education opportunities in the District of Columbia, though, when you lose your CNA registration to professional disciplinary charges. If you face District of Columbia Board of Nursing disciplinary charges against your CNA registration, retain the skilled and experienced representation of the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team. Our attorneys are available to you, no matter your CNA employer or practice location throughout the District of Columbia. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for the District of Columbia certified nurse aide defense.
District of Columbia CNA Discipline's Nationwide Stakes
The District of Columbia recognizes CNA reciprocity, meaning that your CNA registration in a reciprocating state qualifies you for DC CNA registration. See 17 DC Municipal Regulation 9606, expressly authorizing CNA registration by endorsement. Likewise, you may take your DC CNA registration into a reciprocating state for that state's endorsement with your necessity of repeating your CNA training and examination. Reciprocity can save you lots of time, trouble, and expense if you need or want to move from state to state while practicing as a nurse aide in each state. Yet, if you lose your DC CNA registration to disciplinary charges, you lose your reciprocity rights. In short, your disciplinary charges don't just reflect a DC nurse aide practice risk but instead have nationwide stakes. Fight those disciplinary charges now in DC rather than having discipline prevent from licensing across the US.
District of Columbia CNA Registration
The District of Columbia regulates nurse aide practice in the District under municipal regulations appearing at 17 DCMR 9600 et seq. Regulation 9600.3 requires all nurse aides practicing in the District to register with the Board of Nursing. Regulation 9600.4 prohibits any nurse aide from practicing in the District without current registration in good standing. Regulation 9601.1 permits only a four-month grace period before registration. If you lose your DC CNA registration, you won't work as a nurse aide in the District of Columbia.
District of Columbia CNA Registration Purposes
The District of Columbia's Nurse Aide Registry serves the purpose not only of protecting District residents from untrained and incompetent nurse aides but also of qualifying District of Columbia medical facilities and nursing facilities and services for federal funding. Federal regulations require states and the District to adopt training requirements, administer examinations, and maintain a registry for certified nurse aides, or nurse aide employers won't receive federal reimbursement and funding for nurse aide services. CNA registration is necessary or helpful for getting nurse aides paid, both at the individual nurse aide level and at the employer facility or home-health service level.
District of Columbia CNA Qualifications
The District of Columbia's municipal regulations governing nurse aides, at 17 DCMR 9600 et seq., include measures for approving training programs and examinations to qualify nurse aides for registration, consistent with the federal funding regulations. Regulation 9620 establishes the federally compliant nurse aide training program standards. Nurse aides must complete at least a minimum number of hours of classroom and clinical instruction in subjects like mental health, social service needs, basic restorative care, care of the cognitively impaired, basic nursing skills, resident rights, communication skills, health delivery systems, vitals measurement, hygiene, nutrition, and hydration. You studied hard and worked diligently to complete your CNA training, pass the examination, and complete the required term of practical experience. Don't let disciplinary charges ruin your investment in your CNA credential. Let our Defense Team help you defend those charges.
District of Columbia CNA Disciplinary Authority
The District of Columbia's Board of Nursing both registers certified nurse aides and disciplines nurse aides who commit misconduct and violate nurse aide standards. Regulation 9617, 17 DCMR 9617 authorizes the Board of Nursing to “revoke, suspend, or deny registration of any CNA” or impose other discipline. The Board of Nursing cannot carry out its obligation to maintain the Nurse Aide Registry to indicate training, competence, and fitness to practice as a nurse aide without being able to remove from the Registry nurse aides who demonstrate their incompetence or unfitness through various forms of misconduct. Do not doubt the Board of Nursing's power and resources to pursue disciplinary charges against you and remove your name from its CNA Registry. Instead, retain our Defense Team to help you fight the disciplinary charges.
District of Columbia CNA Disciplinary Decisions
The District of Columbia Board of Nursing publishes online its disciplinary actions against certified nurse aides in its Certified Nurse Aide Abuse Registry. Employers have an obligation to consult the Nurse Aide Registry and the corollary Certified Nurse Aide Abuse Registry before retaining a CNA for District employment. But patients, residents, their family members, licensing officials in other states, and any member of the public may peruse the Certified Nurse Aide Abuse Registry. Disciplinary actions in the Abuse Registry include the allegation and offense. Don't lose your certified nurse aide registration, job, and reputation with public disclosure of CNA misconduct. Defend the disciplinary charges upfront.
Disputing District of Columbia CNA Discipline
You have a right to publicly dispute in the Certified Nurse Aide Abuse Registry the Board of Nursing's finding of misconduct. District of Columbia Regulation 9618.8(c), 17 DCMR 9618(c), requires that the Board place in the Abuse Registry “a statement by the individual disputing the allegation if he or she chooses to make one.” While you would be far better off defending and defeating the disciplinary charge before it results in discipline, and employers must generally accept the finding rather than your statement, your statement of disagreement in the Abuse Registry may give helpful context to the finding, to your advantage in some situations. Consult our Defense Team to learn your rights to challenge, disagree with, dispute, and potentially even overturn by court litigation your name's entry in the District's Abuse Registry.
District of Columbia CNA Disciplinary Sanctions
As indicated briefly above, the District's Regulation 9617.1, 17 DCMR 9617.1, authorizes the Board of Nursing to “revoke, suspend, or deny registration of any CNA.” Regulation 9617.2 authorizes “any other disciplinary action” the Board may take, in addition to “a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) per violation” and filing “a letter of concern if the Board believes there is insufficient evidence to support direct action against a CNA.” In short, the Board of Nursing can do largely as it wishes with this broad regulatory discretion.
While sanction discretion may, on the one hand, be daunting, on the other hand, discretion can give our Defense Team an opportunity to advocate and negotiate for alternative relief less than revocation or suspension. You don't want your CNA employment interrupted by a suspension or ended by revocation. We may be able to negotiate an early voluntary dismissal under a consent agreement that provides only for remedial education or training or another readily satisfied term or condition.
Removing District of Columbia CNA Discipline
You may have an opportunity to remove disciplinary information from the Certified Nurse Aide Abuse Registry. The District's Regulation 9618.9, 17 DCMR 9618.9, provides that disciplinary “information shall remain in the registry permanently unless the finding was made in error, the individual was found not guilty in a court of law, or the District is notified of the individual's death.” Newly discovered evidence not available at the hearing may be one ground for reversal and removal of an erroneous finding, as would subsequent successful court action. Consult our Defense Team about your potential right to remove discipline that is interfering with your nurse aide employment or nursing education.
Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
The District's Regulations 9618.1 and 9618.7, 17 DCMR 9618.1, 9618.7, authorizes as grounds for discipline a substantiated finding of “neglect, abuse, or misappropriation of a resident's property.” These are the traditional grounds other jurisdictions recognize and federal regulations generally require. Yet the District's Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes many other grounds. Consider below each of the authorized grounds, examples of those grounds, and the defenses our attorneys may be able to raise against those disciplinary charges.
Abuse as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulations 9699, 17 DCMR 9699 defines abuse as “the infliction of physical or mental harm, or injury to, or death or financial exploitation of a client.” Abuse is typically a deliberate or intentional wrong, carrying with it a strong implication of bad character and making the charge more difficult to defend. Examples of abuse can include shoving, slapping, kicking, prolonged unnecessary confinement or restraint, demeaning, deriding, intimidating, harassing, and threats of these and other wrongs. The District's abuse definition includes financial exploitation, which other jurisdictions generally reserve for the misappropriation grounds.
Defense of abuse charges generally requires the accused nurse aide to come forward with substantial evidence that the aide did not commit the wrong, such as by showing that the resident is an unreliable, vengeful, or deluded witness. The nurse aide may alternatively show that any physical contact was in self-defense, defense of others, or necessary to the resident's own protection.
Neglect as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
The District's Regulations 9699, 17 DCMR 9699, defines neglect as “any act or [o]mission by a CNA which causes or is likely to cause or contribute to, or which caused or is likely to have caused or contributed to the injury, death, or financial exploitation of a consumer.” Neglect differs from abuse in that neglect is typically a reckless or careless rather than deliberate and intentional act. The District's definition of neglect is irregular in including financial exploitation, usually reserved for misappropriation grounds.
Examples of neglect include failing to assist with toileting resulting in soiled bedding or infections, failing to turn a resident resulting in bed sores, failing to provide needed nutrition or hydration, and failing to notice a marked deterioration in the resident's condition warranting a report for medical review. Defense of neglect charges may involve the accused nurse aide showing that the aide was not responsible for the resident, lacked the necessary supplies or equipment despite having made such a request, or provided all necessary care and that the resident's decline was the natural progression of the disease.
Misappropriation as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
The District's Regulations 9699, 17 DCMR 9699, defines misappropriation of a resident's property as “the application of another's property or money dishonestly to one's own use.” Examples of misappropriation include the accused nurse aide deceiving the resident into conveying things of value using false claims of compensation owed, coercing things of value using threats to withhold services or family contact, manipulating gifts by playing on sympathies, and similar schemes and artifices. Defense of misappropriation charges may involve proving the resident to be an unreliable, vengeful, or deluded witness as to what property the resident owned and what actions the aide took to allegedly receive it, proving that the property does not exist or remains in the resident's control, or proving that the aide moved the property according to the protocol for security purposes.
Substance Abuse as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “substance abuse or other chemical dependency.” Generally, disciplinary officials are most concerned about substance abuse that impairs the nurse aide's performance or performance under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether or not severely impaired. Coming to work drunk or high, being caught possessing drugs illegally, and suffering drug convictions are other examples of this form of misconduct. Defense may involve disproving the substance use or abuse, proving that the appearance of impairment was due to innocent circumstances such as loss of sleep or medication reaction, or seeking professional counseling or other treatment and assistance to remedy an abuse issue before it impairs performance.
Abandonment as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “client or patient abandonment.” Examples of abandonment may include failing to show up for work when scheduled, leaving the resident without necessary services, leaving the resident unattended at a remote destination to which the nurse aide transported the resident, refusing to provide necessary services, and leaving the home or facility while still scheduled and with the resident in dire need. Defenses may include that the nurse aide was not scheduled, was not assigned, was unaware of the need for care, was called away to a higher priority emergency, or simply did not abandon the resident who is instead a false, unreliable, deluded, or vengeful reporter.
Credentials Fraud as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “fraud or deceit, which may include but is not limited to[ f]iling false credentials[ or f]alsely representing facts on an application for initial certification, reinstatement or renewal[, or g]iving or receiving assistance in taking the competency evaluation.” Examples include claiming training the nurse aide did not receive, claiming work experience the nurse aide did not have, or concealing criminal convictions or other discipline on a renewal application. Defenses may involve showing that the accused nurse aide did not make the alleged misrepresentation, that all statements were true, that any omissions were innocent oversights rather than deliberate deceptions, and that the nurse aide would have qualified even with full disclosure.
Unauthorized Practice as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “performing acts beyond the CNA's range of functions or beyond those tasks delegated.” Examples include the nurse aide administering medications with a medication aide certification, drawing blood when only LPNs or RNs were authorized to do so, or prescribing or altering medications when only medical doctors were authorized to do so. Defenses may include proof that the nurse aide did not do as alleged, that the aide's actions were within the scope of aide practice, or that the nurse aide reasonably relied on a supervisor's instructions.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “criminal conviction.” The regulation does not name the types of convictions disqualifying a nurse aide from registration. Other jurisdictions limit the convictions to those related to safe nurse aide practice, felonies, crimes of violence, or crimes of moral turpitude. Disqualifying crimes would ordinarily include murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, sexual assault, extortion, embezzlement, criminal fraud, theft, robbery, arson, indecent exposure, child pornography, and the like. Defenses may involve proof that the nurse aide did not suffer the conviction or that the conviction did not relate to nurse aide practice.
Incompetence as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “failure to conform to acceptable standards of practice as a CNA” and “putting clients or patients at risk of harm.” Incompetence often falls into the categories of abuse, neglect, impairment, or unfitness. Defenses may involve proving the aide's performance met the standard of care that the aide reasonably relied on supervisor instructions.
Invasions of Privacy as Grounds for District of Columbia CNA Discipline
District Regulation 9617.3, 17 DCMR 9617.3, authorizes as other disciplinary grounds “violating the privacy or failing to maintain the confidentiality of client information.” Voyeurism, photographs or video of private parts or activities, and HIPAA violations disclosing medical information without consent to those who have no need or right to know are examples. Defense may involve proving that the nurse aide did not make the disclosure or had consent to do so or that the information was not confidential.
District of Columbia CNA Hearing Procedures
District Regulation 9618, 17 DCMR 9618, guarantees the accused nurse aide's right to timely written notice of the disciplinary charges. The notice must include the aide's right to request a hearing before an independent hearing officer before whom the aide may present defense witnesses and documentary evidence. The hearing officer may only consider witnesses testifying under oath at the hearing subject to the nurse aide's cross-examination with the assistance of retained counsel. These and other procedural rights can give our Defense Team substantial opportunities to help you defend and defeat disciplinary charges.
Premier District of Columbia CNA Defense Available
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available in the District of Columbia for your certified nurse aide registration defense. Hundreds of professionals nationwide have successfully trusted the Lento Law Firm for the defense of disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now.