As a healthcare professional, you are likely aware of mandatory reporting laws in your state. As a doctor, nurse, or other licensed healthcare professional, if you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you are required, by law, to report it. Not doing so can result in sanctions, or even a license suspension, by your state licensing board.
The Elder Justice Act, a federal law passed in 2010, also requires mandatory reporting for suspected abuse of the elderly. The law includes penalties for anyone working in or with long-term care facilities which house older adults and receive federal funding. Many states also have their own elder abuse reporting laws in the books. Like child abuse, failing to report suspected abuse or neglect can come with severe consequences.
In a recent case in Danbury Connecticut, a nursing home is facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines because staff members, including a speech therapist and an administrator, did not report suspected sexual assault perpetrated by a nurse's aide. The Connecticut Department of Social Services confirmed they did not receive any reports of possible abuse or mistreatment at the facility. And while the Department of Public Health would not comment on whether staff would be referred for potential licensing action, it remains a concern.
Ongoing Challenges in Long-Term Care Facilities
Licensed medical professionals take oaths to do no harm – and they do their utmost to provide the highest quality care for their patients. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals take their jobs, including abuse-related mandatory reporting requirements, seriously.
Unfortunately, due to ongoing staffing issues, lack of funding, and lack of integration between day-to-day care and medical needs, these professionals may not have all the information they need to know, let alone suspect there may be an issue. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they won't be blamed if abuse is uncovered.
Protect Your Rights
If you have been accused of failing to report elder abuse, it is a very serious matter. Your state licensing board takes such allegations very seriously – and will investigate the matter thoroughly.
If you have been made aware that you are being investigated, you must do your utmost to protect your license. Retaining an experienced professional license defense attorney-advisor can help you collect vital evidence, discuss any mitigating circumstances, and help your state licensing board understand exactly what transpired.
As a licensed medical professional, your professional license is key to your being able to make a living. A professional reprimand, license suspension, or worst-case scenario, a license revocation can be hugely detrimental to your reputation and your career.
The Lento Law Firm stands ready to help you fight any allegations regarding mandatory reporting violations – and protect your integrity and ability to practice medicine. Call the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 to discuss your case.