Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) employed in the District of Columbia enjoy being part of one of the highest-paying professions in the medical field. While CRNAs have gained the necessary education and clinical training to administer medication and other controlled substances, they have also put hard work and time into obtaining a professional license to do so. CRNAs work in fast-paced environments, oftentimes in life-saving situations, but even a small misstep can put a professional license at risk and potentially end a rewarding career.
The nationwide Lento Law Firm realizes how disciplinary action from licensing authorities can hinder a CRNA's ability to practice, leading to further turmoil. Whether through complaints, allegations of misconduct, or even false accusations, our team understands that governing bodies may fail to recognize the entirety of every individual situation. Unfortunately, it can quickly lead to the following situations:
- Remediation with mandatory education or other administrative requirements.
- Probationary periods that restrict a CRNA's practice.
- License suspension or revocation that leaves a CRNA out of work.
District of Columbia CRNAs are a key part of hospitals and medical facilities, and it's vital that they get the help they need when disciplinary action is threatened and, more importantly, to know where to turn beforehand. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team stands prepared to assist you in every step of the process, including leading negotiations with District of Columbia licensing authorities and working towards the most favorable resolution possible. Our team can also educate you on the process before allegations or complaints arise. Call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your details online, and we will contact you.
District of Columbia Board of Nursing Licensing Standards and Conduct
Like others in the nursing profession, CNRAs must be licensed by the District of Columbia Board of Nursing. The objective of the Board is to uphold the best standards of public health and welfare, and to fulfill those, it develops guidelines of professional competency, establishes rules for licensees, adjudicates complaints and allegations of misconduct, and imposes disciplinary sanctions when necessary.
The Board maintains various standards to become licensed, from education to hours practiced under a superior, but it preserves a code of conduct providing how licensees must behave in the workplace. However, some can extend into a CRNA's personal life outside of work. Although it's not an exhaustive list, below are a few of the Board's criteria for CRNA behavior that is subject to license revocation and other forms of disciplinary action:
- Misrepresenting education or qualifications to obtain a license to practice as a CRNA.
- Fraudulently or deceptively using a license.
- Receiving discipline from another licensing agency or court for a cause that would also be punishable by the Board.
- Convictions of any crime involving moral turpitude.
- Declared professionally or mentally incompetent or physically incapable of performing the duties of a CRNA.
- Proven to have an addition to, or habitually abuses, any narcotic or controlled substance.
- Performs CRNA duties while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or controlled substances.
- Willfully submitting a false report to the Board or in the practice as a CRNA.
- Fails to provide patient details to a medical facility or other healthcare provider.
- Making a misrepresentation in treatment.
- Submitting false statements to collect fees for which services are not medically necessary;
- Fee-splitting or charging for referrals.
- Failure to pay fines imposed by the Board.
- Willfully breaching a statutory, regulatory, or ethical requirement of patient confidentiality.
- Refusing to provide service to a person in contravention.
- Prescribing, dispensing, or administering drugs when not authorized.
- Practicing without a protocol when required.
- Offering or performing services beyond the licensee's authorized scope.
- Maintaining an unsanitary office or performing professional services under unsanitary conditions.
- Sexually harassing a patient or client.
- Violating any District of Columbia or federal law, regulation, or rule related to CRNA practice or drugs.
- Failing to conform to standards of acceptable conduct and prevailing practice within a health profession.
- Demonstrating a willful or careless disregard for a patient's health, welfare, or safety, regardless of injury.
There are numerous guidelines CRNAs must follow, and rule violations can be wide-ranging. Nevertheless, allegations against a CRNA can come from any source through complaints, and the Board has jurisdiction over everything outside fee and billing disputes. It isn't just patients, coworkers, or superiors that can submit complaints to the Board; anyone can.
District of Columbia CRNA Disciplinary Proceedings
The Board will investigate all complaints and allegations of violations immediately. Under some circumstances, a licensee can have their license revoked before they have a chance to present their case.
Upon an initial investigation, if the District of Columbia mayor determines that the conduct of a licensee presents an "imminent danger" to the public health, safety, and welfare, the mayor may summarily suspend or restrict a license without a hearing. Therefore, it's important to get professional help whenever allegations arise, as CRNAs can also be subject to baseless or biased complaints.
Under normal conditions, before the Board hands down any disciplinary action, a licensee will have the opportunity to present their case in a hearing. The Board may request the CRNA to attend a settlement conference prior to the hearing for the chance to enter into a negotiated settlement agreement or consent decree. Otherwise, the Board will send a notice to the licensee that the hearing will be held within 15 days.
During the hearing, the Board has the authority to administer oaths, compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, and require the production of any evidence in connection with the alleged misconduct or filed complaint. Licensed CRNAs may cross-examine any witness or piece of evidence.
Final decisions can be made by the Board or a panel of three or more members given authority by the mayor. Licensees will receive results in writing within 90 days after the hearing's conclusion. If complaints or allegations of misconduct are substantiated, the Board may hand down sanctions like those listed below:
- Written reprimand
- Mandatory education, retraining, reexamination, therapy, or treatment
- Probationary periods
- Fines not exceeding $5,000 per violation
- License suspension
- License revocation
All decisions of the Board are final. However, when a CRNA disagrees with the action of the Board, they may appeal the decision to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Consequences of Sanctions in the District of Columbia and Elsewhere
Even though CRNAs may appeal the Board's decision, sanctions go into place immediately. While sanctions will vary depending on the details of the complaint or misconduct, punishments or any severity need to be taken seriously. Even if it's a licensee's first recorded disciplinary action, the situation can lead to the following consequences:
- Leaves CRNAs vulnerable to future scrutiny from employers and the public.
- Becomes a potential barrier to promotion.
- Diminishes career earning power over time.
- Increases stress associated with daily workplace responsibilities.
While the Board's actions affect those employed in the District of Columbia, there are also indirect results licensees face elsewhere. For instance, the District of Columbia is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which is an administrative effort to unify nursing standards across the U.S. The NLC provides a pathway for CRNAs and other healthcare professionals to practice in multiple states without needing to complete additional licensing requirements. While licensee information is shared nationwide, that also means licensing agencies in other states will know when disciplinary action has been taken against any CRNA in NLC-compliant states.
Moreover, if CRNAs acquire their professional license in the District of Columbia, disciplinary action in other states can trigger additional sanctions. If a CRNA is found responsible for a rule violation in another state that is also punishable in the District of Columbia, the Board has the authority to discipline the licensee working in another state.
Recorded sanctions will also follow licensees through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN also unites CRNAs and their licensing information nationwide, and its Nursys database is a primary source for employers and medical facilities. Anyone with access to the NCSBN's database can search a CRNA's current license status, including previous disciplinary actions, and make important hiring decisions based on such.
Because of the risk to a CRNA's livelihood, you must consider partnering with an attorney from the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team. It's impossible to predict how the Board's action will affect you, even from minor instances of misconduct.
How the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help District of Columbia CRNAs
CRNAs facing licensing sanctions from District of Columbia authorities may believe that an attorney is potentially too aggressive an option to exercise to defend themselves in administrative proceedings. However, take into consideration how the Lento Law Firm will be a valuable resource for the following reasons:
- Gathering all relevant evidence and testimony: The right evidence or witness testimony can reveal certain nuances that may determine the outcome of your case with the Board.Our dedicated team conducts its own investigation of your circumstances. If a lapse in judgment, a stressful day, a biased complainant, or another situation in the workplace or outside occurs, we can help in mitigating how the Board reacts.
- Seek pre-hearing settlements: Attorneys with the Lento Law Firm can negotiate with a facility or organization's Office of General Counsel (OGC), which often works with licensing agencies. We will help settle your case and explore other options the Board provides to settle before hearings.
- Accompany you through the entire disciplinary process: If your case must go through the traditional channels, we'll be prepared to defend you every step of the way. We will accompany you to meetings, correspond with the Board, represent you during your hearing, and file necessary appeals promptly.
- Take further legal steps, if necessary: Following the Board's final decision, licensees may appeal to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.When yourCRNA license is threatened, we will exercise every available option for defense, and it's crucial to enlist the assistance of a team with the experience.
The Lento Law Firm is a nationwide legal team experienced in negotiating with professional licensing boards and their attorneys. Considering each client's unique circumstances, our firm always presses for the best possible outcome. It's never too early to consider your defense options as a licensed professional. Given the speed of the Board's grievance processes, knowing where to turn before trouble arises is essential to protect your career.
We Serve CRNAs Employed by Medical Providers Throughout the District of Columbia
No matter your employer or specific role as a CRNA, adverse action can have a devastating effect on your career. We serve CRNAs practicing throughout the District of Columbia and are familiar with prominent employers in the medical industry, including:
- BridgePoint Hospital Capitol Hill
- Children's National Hospital
- BridgePoint Hospital National Harbor
- Howard University Hospital
- HSC Pediatric Center
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
- Johns Hopkins Medicine-Sibley Memorial Hospital
- MedStar Rehabilitation Hospital
- St. Elizabeth's Hospital
- Psychiatric Institute of Washington
- MedStar Washington Hospital Center
- United Medical Center
- Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center
The hospitals and medical facilities listed above are just a few examples of high-volume employers of CRNAs in the District of Columbia. Even if you don't see your facility on this list, we can still offer beneficial support wherever you are in the district.
Call the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Today
Retaining your District of Columbia CRNA license is a priority, and our team stands prepared to begin your case today. Resist the urge to retain the help of local trial attorneys who often advertise their forceful courtroom tactics to challenge licensing authorities and keep you out of trouble. Aggressive strategies are not what works to ensure good standing with the Board. You need the delicate care and attention the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team uses to keep your credentials intact.
Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today for a consultation about how we will defend your license to practice as a CRNA in the District of Columbia. You can also contact us online with your case details, and a member of our Professional License Defense Team will reach out as soon as possible.