The Lento Law Firm Defends Maine Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
Maine welcomes certified nursing assistants (CNAs) for practice in the lovely state. Maine's beautiful lakes, coastline, and natural environment enhance the value of nursing assistant practice in the state. Maine's attractive cities like Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, and Auburn offer abundant CNA employment opportunities. Hospitals and medical centers like Maine Medical Center, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Acadia Hospital, Aroostook Medical Center, and the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital offer medical facility-based employment to many CNAs, while home health agencies like Amedisys Home Health, Able Home Health, HealthReach Network, and Kindred at Home provide many more CNA opportunities at residential and nursing facilities.
Maine-certified nursing assistants can also continue their nursing education in the state while working at fine nursing schools at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Southern Maine, Husson University, Saint Joseph's College of Maine, and other colleges and universities.
To enjoy all those benefits of Maine-certified nursing assistant practice, though, you must keep your certification in good standing against professional disciplinary charges. Don't let disciplinary charges threaten your nursing assistant practice and nursing career. If you face Maine CNA disciplinary charges, retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for skilled and experienced defense, whether you are in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn, or any other Maine location. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for Maine-certified nursing assistant defense.
Maine CNA Disciplinary Charge Nationwide Stakes
Maine recognizes certified nursing assistant qualifications from other states that reciprocate in recognizing Maine CNAs. If you already have CNA credentials from another state, you need only complete the appropriate form for CNA credentials in Maine. However, if you suffer CNA discipline in Maine, that discipline will follow you to other reciprocating states. You cannot simply leave behind your disciplinary issues in Maine to get CNA credentials from another state. Reciprocating states require that you disclose your prior discipline, which state officials will likely check in any case. In short, your Maine CNA discipline has nationwide stakes. Don't flee Maine CNA disciplinary charges. Instead, face up to them with the help of our skilled and experienced Defense Team.
Maine CNA Registration
Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the state's Department of Health and Human Services to establish the Certified Nursing Assistant and Direct Care Workers Registry. Maine's legislature authorized the registry expressly to meet federal regulations restricting federal healthcare and nursing care funding to facilities employing trained and registered nursing assistants. Section 1812-G requires all nursing assistants practicing in the state to maintain their registration in the registry. While the registry and its authorizing legislation generally refer to certified nursing assistants or CNAs and direct care workers, Section 1812-G expressly includes within the Registry behavior specialists, behavioral health professionals, certified residential care aides, certified residential medication aides, direct support professionals, mental health rehabilitation technicians, mental health support specialists, other qualified mental health professionals, personal care or support specialists, registered medical assistants, residential care specialists, and community health workers. Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G provides that registration lasts for two years, after which the CNA must renew it.
Maine CNA Qualifications
Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the state's Board of Nursing to adopt training program and examination requirements for CNA registration, meeting the federal regulations. Approved CNA training programs like the one at Maine Medical Center offer a specific number of required hours of classroom instruction and clinical training, followed by the written exam and competency evaluation. Training includes age-specific care through the lifespan, safe patient care delivery, infection control principles and practices, body mechanics and mobility skills, communication skills, assisting with activities of daily living, nutrition and assisting patients with meeting nutritional needs, common health problems in nursing assistant care, CPR, and basic life support. Candidates must then complete one year of experience to receive full recognition as a CNA entered into the state's registry. Don't lose all you've earned to disciplinary charges. Value your CNA training and registration. Get our help to defend the charges.
Maine CNA Disciplinary Authority
Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the state's Department of Health and Human Services to discipline CNAs entered into the Department's Registry. The statute's subsection 11 states, "The department may investigate complaints and allegations against certified nursing assistants or registered direct care workers of abuse, neglect, exploitation or misappropriation of property of a client, patient or resident." Other subsections authorize the Department to hold hearings, issue determinations, and make Registry entries reflecting the discipline. Do not doubt the Department's authority to discipline CNAs who violate nursing assistant standards. The Department has adopted administrative rules in Chapter 128 carrying its authority into effect. The Department has the funding, staff, and other resources to pursue disciplinary charges resolutely. Get our Defense Team's help to level the playing field and ensure that you do not suffer unjust and unnecessary discipline, affecting your nursing assistant job and nursing career.
Maine CNA Disciplinary Decisions
Subsection 11 of Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the state's Department of Health and Human Services to enter a substantiated or unsubstantiated finding on nursing assistant disciplinary charges. The Department must write its decision to share with the accused CNA and for entry in the CNA Registry. If the Department finds that the evidence substantiates the disciplinary allegations, then the Department will describe the factors substantiating the charge while indicating the associated employment ban or limitation so that employers, patients, residents, their family members, and the public can learn from the registry of the Department's disciplinary decision. Keep your name and record as clear as you can with the help of our Defense Team's attorneys.
Maine CNA Disciplinary Sanctions
Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the state's Department of Health and Human Services to ban a certified nursing assistant from practice in the state for life. Subsection 13 provides, "A certified nursing assistant or a registered direct care worker with a notation of a substantiated finding on the registry is banned for life from employment as either a certified nursing assistant or a direct care worker."
Maine CNA Registry Reinstatement
A Maine CNA who has lost the required registration and suffered an employment ban may seek CNA Registry reinstatement if the ban was due to certain criminal convictions. Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G lists the reinstatement requirements. Generally, the CNA must apply for reinstatement while the ban is still in place, showing good grounds in the CNA's rehabilitation for lifting the ban. Reinstatement, though, is not available for substantiated findings resulting in discipline, only for criminal convictions. Substantiated findings are generally permanent unless overturned on court review. Get our Defense Team's help defending the initial charges, or, if you have already suffered a ban, evaluate whether you have administrative or court grounds for reinstatement.
Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Maine Department of Health and Human Services disciplinary officials cannot impose discipline for just any reason of their own. They must ground their disciplinary charges and findings in the authorizing statute. Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G both lists and defines those grounds. Consider below each of the listed disciplinary grounds, other grounds that disciplinary officials may assert based on related laws and rules, and the defenses our Professional License Defense Team attorneys may be able to raise as to each ground.
Abuse as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Abuse is Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G's first ground for certified nursing assistant discipline. Subsection 1-B of the statute defines abuse as "the infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment that causes or is likely to cause physical harm or pain or mental anguish; sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; or the intentional, knowing or reckless deprivation of essential needs. Subsection 1-B adds that abuse "includes acts and omissions."
Abuse generally involves deliberate, knowing wrongs rather than an unintentional oversight or accident. Examples of physical abuse include when a CNA hits, kicks, shoves, bites, or otherwise causes deliberate injurious physical contact with a patient or resident. Examples of unreasonable confinement can include prolonged unnecessary bed restraints or room confinement. Examples of intimidation can include threats of physical harm or family deprivation. Sexual abuse and exploitation can include sexual assaults or other sexual contact or invasions of sexual privacy through photographs or similar means.
Defense of abuse charges can be difficult because of the seriousness of the charges and the commitment of disciplinary officials to patient safety and security. Defense may involve proving that the complaining patient or resident was mistaken or deluded, that the events did not occur, that any conduct was therapeutic care rather than abuse, or that the alleged misconduct was necessary restraint for the patient or resident's safety or the safety and security of others.
Neglect as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Neglect is Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G's next ground for certified nursing assistant discipline. Subsection 1-B of the statute defines neglect as "a threat to a person's health or welfare by failure to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical or mental injury or impairment or the threat of injury or impairment." Unlike abuse, neglect can involve careless or reckless wrongs, not merely deliberate, intentional wrongs.
Examples of neglect include failing to turn a patient resulting in bed sores, failing to assist a patient out of bed for bathroom relief resulting in soiled bedding and clothing, failing to feed a patient or resident, resulting in malnutrition, failing to provide sufficient liquid resulting in dehydration, and failing to bathe or otherwise assist with personal hygiene resulting in infection.
Defense of neglect charges may involve showing that the accused CNA was not assigned to the patient or resident, lacked the necessary supplies or equipment to provide the necessary care, or otherwise lacked control over the circumstances of which supervisors were aware. Defense of neglect charges can be difficult but is often not as difficult as overcoming charges of abuse because of the difference in the required state of mind.
Misappropriation as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Misappropriation is Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G's next ground for certified nursing assistant discipline. Subsection 1-B of the statute defines misappropriation as "the deliberate misplacement, exploitation or wrongful, temporary or permanent use of a client's, patient's, or resident's belongings or money without that person's consent." Examples of misappropriation can include a nursing assistant stealing a patient or resident's jewelry, money, credit cards, electronic devices, or other things of value. Misappropriation can also include coercion or duress, such as threatening to withhold food, services, or family contact unless the patient or resident conveys the property.
Defense of misappropriation charges can involve showing that the patient or resident didn't have the property, directing the nursing assistant to convey the property to another or to secure the property for safekeeping, or misidentifying the accused nursing assistant when others took the property. Defense may also include that the nursing assistant moved and secured the property for safety or security rather than absconding with the property.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Criminal conviction is the next ground for Maine CNA discipline. Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to designate the criminal convictions that will disqualify a nursing assistant from registration. The Department did so in its administrative rules in Chapter 128 by referring to the Table of Disqualifying Crimes from the Maine Background Check Center Rule. Chapter 128 expressly provides, "An individual with a … disqualifying criminal conviction may not work as a certified nursing assistant or a direct care worker, and an employer is subject to penalties for employing a disqualified or otherwise ineligible person in accordance with applicable federal or state laws."
Defense of disciplinary charges relating to a disqualifying criminal conviction may involve showing that the nursing assistant did not suffer the alleged conviction, the conviction is not on the disqualifying offense list, or the time has elapsed since the conviction permitting the nursing assistant to seek reinstatement.
Credentials Fraud as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Credentials fraud is an implied ground for discipline. The above statutes and rules setting forth the credentials a nursing assistant must have for CNA Registry entry imply that misrepresentations on registration or renewal applications will result in the revocation of the registration. Examples of credentials fraud include misrepresentation of the training, exam cheating such as unauthorized use of materials or having a substitute take the exam, misrepresenting one's work experience, or concealing criminal convictions or discipline in other states. Defense may involve proving the disputed statements to be true and documenting the completion of training and experience.
Incapacity as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Incapacity is another implied ground for removal from the Maine CNA Registry. Incapacity involves a physical or mental impairment that keeps the nursing assistant from being able to do the job. Examples include illness, injury, physical or mental disability, or temporary impairment from medication changes or other causes. Defenses may include that the nursing assistant was capable or would have been capable if the employer had provided reasonable accommodations required under workplace disability laws.
Unprofessionalism as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Unprofessionalism is another implied ground for Maine CNA discipline, common in other states. Unprofessionalism may involve insubordination toward supervisors, disrespect of co-workers, poor demeanor or dress, bad personal hygiene, or acts of dishonesty such as entering false hours or making false records of services performed and patient or resident activities. Defenses may involve proving that the nursing assistant did not commit the misconduct, that any conduct was not outside the norms and customs of nursing assistants under the circumstances, or that the conduct was anomalous due to unexpected circumstances such as personal illness or stress.
Drug Abuse as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Drug abuse is another implied ground for discipline as a Maine CNA. Drug abuse can include such things as theft of medications or other controlled substances for personal use or sale or other unlawful distribution, failing to document and secure prescription medications, and use and abuse of alcohol or drugs, causing the nursing assistant to work while under the influence. Drug abuse can be a special concern of disciplinary officials due to the patient and resident safety and security risks.
Defense of drug abuse disciplinary charges can involve showing that the accused nursing assistant was not responsible for the missing drugs, that others stole or misused the drugs, and that the nursing assistant did not work while under the influence and is not a user or abuser of drugs or alcohol. Like other states, Maine has a Medical Professionals Health Program to provide struggling health professionals with counseling and other resources in the hopes of avoiding discipline while preserving the healthcare license or certification and practice. Although referral to the professional assistance program may delay or defer discipline, beware of accepting a referral that requires you to relinquish your license, suspend your employment, or meet onerous terms. You may find it difficult to impossible to get your CNA registration or CNA job back. Consult our Defense Team before entering into any consent agreement involving referral for services.
Unauthorized Practice as Grounds for Maine CNA Discipline
Unauthorized practice is another implied ground for Maine CNA discipline. The above laws and rules make clear that nursing assistants must maintain their registration in good standing to practice as nursing assistants in the state. Continuing your nursing assistant practice after officials have suspended or revoked your CNA registration, or your CNA registration has lapsed without renewal after two years, may lead to disciplinary charges for unauthorized practice. The above laws and rules further make the restrictions on a nursing assistant's practice clear. Nursing assistants, for instance, are not to perform services reserved for RNs and LPNs.
Defenses may involve showing that you curtailed your practice while not registered, that you limited your practice to within the nursing assistant scope of practice, or that you reasonably relied on the direction of your RN supervisor for whatever practice in which you engaged.
Maine CNA Disciplinary Procedures
Subsections 10, 11, and 12 of Maine Revised Statute Section 1812-G authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to accept disciplinary complaints, investigate those complaints, hold hearings to determine whether misconduct occurred, and offer appeals of adverse findings. The Department of Health and Human Services adopted Section 144-128-4 within its administrative rules in Chapter 128, further articulating those procedures. Section 144-128-4 incorporates other administrative hearing rules assuring that the accused nursing assistant has a right to a hearing when requested, to present witnesses and documentary evidence in defense, challenge the Department's witnesses, and retain counsel to assist at the hearing. Section 144-128-4 also offers an appeal to Superior Court. These and other disciplinary procedures meet your constitutional due process rights.
Defense Team Services for Maine CNA Representation
When you retain our Defense Team, we can timely invoke your disciplinary hearing rights. Our attorneys can help you identify and acquire your defense evidence, present your witnesses and documentary evidence at the hearing, cross-examine the Department's witnesses, and research, draft, and file hearing briefs. We can also help you appeal any adverse decision for Superior Court review. Our attorneys may also be able to communicate and negotiate with disciplinary officials to seek alternative special relief. We may be able to obtain an agreement for early voluntary dismissal of the charges, with remedial education and training. Your best outcome depends on skilled and experienced representation from the best available attorney representation.
Premier Maine CNA Defense Available
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn, and any other Maine location for your nursing assistant registration defense. Hundreds of professionals nationwide have trusted the Lento Law Firm for defense of disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now.