Louisiana Certified Nurse Aide License Defense

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Protect Your CNA License in Louisiana

Certified nurse aides (CNAs) are a crucial part of healthcare. This is especially true in long-term facilities and nursing homes where patients and residents need more support than just basic medical care. The state of Louisiana recognizes the significance of maintaining high standards for patient care. So when a complaint arises against one of its medical professionals, including CNAs, they prioritize addressing the issue and punishing the actor, if necessary. If a CNA is found responsible for violating one of these standards, they will be held responsible, which could mean serious punishments and life-long consequences.

The moment you are notified of a complaint against you, you must reach out to an attorney to begin building your defense immediately. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team have spent years helping professionals defend themselves against unnecessary accusations and punishments. They will help you gather relevant evidence and witness testimonies to help support your argument. For your case to succeed, you will need to prove to the Louisiana Department of Health that you did not commit the actions accused in the complaint.

These proceedings are quite complex, and a lot is on the line for your success. But unfortunately, a lot of CNAs decide to defend themselves, greatly underestimating how complex these proceedings are, and end up presenting an ineffective defense. The Lento Law Firm can help. Call us at 888-535-3686.

Louisiana Department of Health License Proceedings

Whereas registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses have their licenses regulated by the Board of Nursing in Louisiana, CNAs are actually regulated by the Louisiana Department of Health. In general, CNAs tend to provide care for vulnerable populations, such as disabled, mentally impaired, or elderly individuals who are unable to care for themselves independently. Because of how huge this responsibility is, the Department of Health is quick to get involved in, and resolve, complaints against CNAs. For instance, if a CNA is accused of being under the influence of illegal substances while on duty by a patient, the Department of Health can adjudicate the matter and determine whether it is appropriate to limit the CNA's license in some way or suspend or revoke it completely.

Navigating the rules and regulations that govern CNA licenses in Louisiana can be extremely challenging because not only are they hard to find, they can be difficult to understand when they are available. For example, many regulations require that CNAs ask questions if they do not understand something, and if they fail to ask questions, they can be penalized.

So what happens when a nurse believes they understand something and proceed accordingly, only to be wrong and injure a patient? Should they still be penalized for not asking questions when they thought they had a grasp on the medical treatment or situation? In comparison, other professions enjoy the benefits of more comprehensive regulations that are easily accessible and designed to truly protect their members from unfounded accusations and unjust disciplinary actions.

The disparity seems to be that because other professionals spend a longer time being educated in their field, they have stricter - and more apparent - regulations and standards to abide by. But CNA programs tend to be very short, making their regulatory standards less robust and thus less apparent. As such, it is seriously unfair that CNAs are forced to face allegations and subsequent penalties for something as simple as failing to ask a question (like in our example above), especially when the consequences are so all-encompassing.

If you or someone you love has been confronted with a misconduct allegation and is unsure of how to proceed, The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense team is here to help. Their unique experience allows them to meticulously analyze legislation and identify crucial regulations which govern the practice of a CNA. From this, they will be able to tell if an actual violation has occurred or if this is a simple miscommunication that should be addressed. Either way, this comprehensive research will aid the Lento Law Firm in creating a strong defense on your behalf.

Types of Nursing Licenses in Louisiana

Louisiana has several nursing licenses to offer its residents, including licensed practical nurse licenses (LPN), registered nurse licenses (RN), and advanced practical registered nurse licenses (APRN). In addition to these licenses, Louisiana also offers a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) license to those who qualify.

There are several ways to qualify for a CNA license; the steps to take will largely depend on where you are in life and your career. For instance, if you are training to be a nurse aide, you must complete a training program and pass a competency evaluation. However, if you are currently a CNA in another state and looking to transfer your license to Louisiana, you must be active and in good standing in the state you already hold the license and present that license, an application, and an application fee to the Louisiana Department of Health. The Department will review the application and verify your current license and then decide whether to grant you the Louisiana license. Working with an attorney will ensure the Department of Health upholds its own rules and prevent CNAs from enduring detrimental consequences that will affect both their professional and personal lives.

Nursing License Compact for Louisiana Certified Nurse Aides

In the early 2000s, in an effort to create a unified nursing license standard, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) created the Nursing License Compact (NLC). The NLC was then evolved into the current Enhanced Nursing License Compact (eNLC) in 2018. The goal of the eNLC is to provide nurses with access to the regulations and standards that govern their licenses, to provide employers and the state Board of Nursing with the ability to verify licenses easily and quickly, and to help lower costs for all parties involved, including nurses, hospitals, patients, and insurance providers.

As of today, more than 40 states and territories have joined the eNLC. Unfortunately, the eNLC is only available for LPN, RN, and APRN licenses, and CNA licenses do not fall within its purview. Instead, the state Department of Health is in charge of creating its own requirements for CNA licenses.

In addition to the eNLC, the NCSBN also developed an online database and notification system called Nursys. Nursys helps nurses and medical facilities keep track of nursing licenses and informs nurses of renewal dates and requirements they must complete. As CNA licenses are not part of the eNLC and thus not part of Nursys, the state of Louisiana has created an alternative route to checking the validity of a license.

It should also be noted that though CNAs do not fall within the eNLC, disciplinary actions brought against a CNA can still prevent them from obtaining certification in other states or pursuing further education. For example, a determination of misconduct for negligently harming a patient could prevent a CNA from being admitted to a registered nursing program. Or if they are accepted and complete the program, it could affect their ability to apply for the RN license or be hired by a medical facility. There are so many consequences that can arise when you are accused of misconduct in your role as a CNA. To mitigate these challenges, it is important to hire an attorney you can trust.

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Wherever You Are

The Lento Law Firm Professional Defense Team is able to help professionals in a number of fields all over the country who are facing disciplinary charges for alleged professional misconduct. In Louisiana, the Lento Law Firm can help CNAs at any number of medical facilities, including:

  • Ochsner Medical Center
  • Willis-Knighton Medical Center
  • Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
  • St. Tammy Health System
  • Tulane Health System
  • Bridgepoint Continuing Care Hospital
  • Caldwell Memorial Hospital
  • Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital
  • Slidell Memorial Hospital
  • Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
  • Touro Infirmary
  • Summerfield Senior Living
  • Avanti Senior Living at Covington
  • Ville Ste Marie Senior Living
  • St. Margaret's Belleville Assisted Living
  • Azalea Estates
  • Bloom at Bossier
  • Laketown Village
  • Christwood Retirement Center
  • Inspire Living Kenner
  • Landmark of Baton Rouge
  • Heritage Manor Opelousas

What Types of Allegations Can Put a Certified Nurse Aide License at Risk?

All professionals are held to certain standards. As lawyers, we have to follow the regulations of the state we are barred in and the rules of professional conduct, which are stipulated by the American Bar Association. CNAs are held to the standards outlined in Louisiana's Minimum Licensing Standards regulation.

This regulation identifies some of the allegations a complainant can make against a CNA and that the Department of Health will investigate. This list is by no means exhaustive, though, so we have included other examples of misconduct that are commonly adjudicated by the Department against CNAs around the country:

  • Purposely inflicting physical or mental injury on a patient, their family, a colleague, or a supervisor.
  • Sexually abusing, exploiting, or extorting money or things of value from a patient, their family, a colleague, or a supervisor in a way that endangers the health or moral or emotional well-being.
  • Purposely injuring, unreasonably confining, intimidating, or punishing a patient, their family, a colleague, or a supervisor in a way that one would expect the person to suffer physical or mental harm, pain, or mental anguish.
  • Neglecting or abandoning a patient, their family, a colleague, or a supervisor.
  • Stealing from residents or the facility.
  • Failing to maintain patient confidentiality.
  • Using a fake or invalid CNA certification to obtain employment.
  • Using drugs or alcohol while working.
  • Having a substance abuse problem that affects their ability to provide safe and effective care to their patients or residents.
  • Working as a CNA without a valid license.

Once the Department of Health receives a complaint alleging that a CNA has violated their professional standards, they will initiate disciplinary proceedings to make sure the CNA is held responsible if they did, in fact, violate the standard. Sanctions for such misconduct could amount to anything from a written reprimand letter to having their certification revoked and being barred from practicing as a CNA in Louisiana. This is why it is so important to get the advice and counsel of an experienced and gifted attorney once you know of the complaint.

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will prioritize your case and work tirelessly to determine how to properly mitigate any negative consequences you might experience. By gathering relevant evidence and securing witness testimony on your behalf, they guarantee the best possible outcome for your case.

Exemptions for Certified Nurse Aides in Louisiana

Nearly every state in the U.S. has a Good Samaritan law that provides protection to individuals helping others in certain situations. Under Louisiana's Good Samaritan law, if a person arrives at the scene of an emergency and sees another individual injured, they can provide them with reasonable assistance without being adjudicated for it. That means that if a CNA was driving down the highway and noticed a car that had rolled into a ditch and opted to help the driver get out of the vehicle, breaking the driver's arm in the process, the CNA would not be penalized for the accidental arm break. Whereas, if the CNA was at work in a medical facility and helped a resident out of their bed only to drop the resident, resulting in the resident breaking their arm, they could be held responsible for failing to ask for help or injuring the resident - even if it was unintentional.

There are times, though, when the Department of Health will fail to realize that a CNAs actions fall within the Good Samaritan law and thus cannot be adjudicated. When this happens, it is up to the accused CNA to present facts and testimony that prove their conduct fell within this exemption. If the Department continues to pursue the issue and finds the CNA responsible for misconduct, their decision can be overturned in the court of appeals. Having an attorney present every step of the process will ensure the issue is brought to the Department's attention well before a hearing in an effort to have the charges dismissed or reduced significantly.

What is the Disciplinary Process for Louisiana Certified Nurse Aides?

While every state has different particulars for how a CNA will be disciplined, most follow the same structure. This is great, considering most of these procedural rules are not easily available for review. That being said, given the vast experience the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has defending CNAs around the U.S., we know the process will look something like the following.

Initially, the complaint will be made to the Department of Health, who will then review the matter and reach out to the complainant, and potentially the accused CNA, for further information. If you are required to respond to their request, it is a good idea to have the guidance of an attorney on your side to ensure your response is sufficient.

After this review, if the Department believes the complaint should be investigated, they will launch one. During this investigation, the Department will reach out to the complainant and accused CNA, as well as any relevant witnesses, to learn more about the incident. When they've completed the investigation, they will decide whether the matter should be pursued in a formal hearing based on the evidence they found during the investigation.

If the Department decides to pursue the complaint, it will schedule a disciplinary hearing and notify both parties of the date and time, as well as any rights the parties have for the hearing. At the hearing, both sides will have the chance to present their own evidence and witness testimony to support their arguments. In the CNA's case, they will want to present evidence and witnesses that refute the complainant's claim that they committed an act of misconduct. Once both sides have been heard, the Department of Health will meet separately to go back through the arguments presented and decide, based on the evidence offered, whether or not the CNA did, in fact, violate one of the professional standards and, if so, what kind of discipline to implement.

There is a chance that the Department will offer the CNA a chance, prior to the disciplinary hearing, to settle outside of the hearing. They will ask the CNA and the complainant to meet with them at a settlement conference, review the complaint, and give the CNA a chance to admit what they allegedly did. It also provides the complainant with a chance to drop the matter and dismiss the case. If the CNA agrees to the stipulations of the settlement, the resolution will be recorded in an official document, and the agreement will take effect immediately.

For instance, in some settlement agreements, the CNA may agree to a lesser punishment than they might receive if their defense were to be unsuccessful - instead of having their license revoked, they would be restricted to only working on weekdays, during the morning with a specific supervisor shadowing them the entire time. This stipulation would remain in effect for a certain period of time before the Department would decide to lift it. The benefit of working with an attorney during these proceedings is that they will guide you in making the best decision.

Why You Need a Certified Nurse Aide License Defense Attorney in Louisiana

Most agencies believe that complaints against professionals are made out of a true incident. They rarely believe they are being made out of spite or for other personal or professional reasons. Because of that, they tend to take the complainant at their word, and if they find preliminary evidence that the incident may have occurred, they will continue with their investigation and disciplinary proceedings.

That being said, it is very common for complaints to be made against CNAs for illegitimate reasons. Complaints like this can have serious effects on the CNA's personal and professional life. Not only would a negative result prevent them from continuing to work as a CNA in Louisiana, but it could also affect their ability to work as a CNA in another state. Both of these punishments would impact how the CNA is able to provide for herself and her family, which could cause significant emotional harm.

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands what is on the line. They know how hard you have worked to get into this role and how important it is for you to keep your license intact. If you are falsely accused of misconduct, and the Department has done nothing to protect you from such false accusations, you will be able to appeal it at the state's appeals court.

The Nature of Louisiana Department of Health Charges Against a Certified Nurse Aide

Any decision made by the Department of Health against a CNA does not constitute a criminal conviction or civil penalty. Only state or federal courts may issue those. However, the Department has every right to forward a complaint against a CNA to state and federal law enforcement for review if it believes it could be considered a criminal offense. To ensure you are not being subjected to a state or federal criminal investigation, we will review the accusations against you and negotiate with law enforcement on your behalf.

How the Lento Law Firm Professional Licensing Defense Team Can Help

The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team have an unparalleled skill set they can leverage to provide you with a solid defense. These proceedings are important and should not be taken lightly. Call 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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