Certified nursing assistants—often called CNAs and also formally referred to by the State of Michigan as nurse aides—are important members of many healthcare teams. Often responsible for many aspects of day-to-day patient care in nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, CNAs are expected to be responsible, compassionate, and skilled. After completing an accredited CNA educational program and passing a rigorous state exam, nurse aids must register with Michigan's Bureau of Community and Health Services (BCHS), which is part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Nurse aides must contain this registration throughout their careers in order to work in Michigan.
However, your nurse aide registration can be threatened by a complaint to the BCHS, which has the authority to investigate complaints against nurse aides and revoke individuals' registration. Because BCHS can threaten your registration and your ability to make a living as a CNA, you owe it to yourself to take any complaints against you seriously. If you are facing a state investigation in Michigan because of a complaint against you as a CNA or nurse aide, don't try to handle the situation on your own. You owe it to your career and your future to respond carefully, honestly, and in a timely manner at all stages of the investigation process.
With your CNA registration potentially on the line, don't try to navigate this complex administrative process on your own or with an inexperienced lawyer. Turn to the Lento Law Firm for help defending your registration by calling 888-535-3686 or contacting the firm online. The Lento Law Firm's experienced team of professional license defense lawyers can help you protect your registration as a CNA.
Nurse Aide Registration in Michigan
According to Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, each state has a responsibility to "establish and maintain a registry of all individuals who have satisfactorily completed a nurse aide training and competency evaluation program, or a nurse aide competency evaluation program" approved in the state. Michigan maintains such a registry, which provides a publicly available list of everyone who has been registered as a CNA in the state as well as a summary of any findings of investigations against them. Nurse aide registration is valid in Michigan for two years. In order to renew your CNA registration, you will need to show that you have provided nursing services for pay (a minimum of 40 hours worked in the last 24 months), and, starting in 2024, you must show that you have completed 12 hours of continuing education annually, including abuse, neglect, and care plan training.
If you have worked as a nurse aide in another state, Michigan may grant reciprocity and honor your registration in Michigan without needing to retake the exam. This site lists the states that have reciprocity agreements with Michigan.
The Role of the Bureau of Community and Health Services
Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) oversees licensing of healthcare providers and facilities. Specifically, the Bureau of Community and Health Systems (BCHS) handles the nurse aide registry, which tracks CNAs registered to work in Michigan. The BCHS is also responsible for reviewing and investigating complaints against CNAs, as well as taking action against CNAs that it determines have violated its professional standards. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, 42 USC 1395 i-3(g)(1)(C), BCHS has the authority to review and investigate complaints against CNAs—and it takes this authority seriously. The results of BCHS investigations are available publicly on the internet for anyone to access. That means that BCHS can not only make it impossible for you to work as a CNA if it finds evidence to substantiate an investigation against you, but this information can follow you around for the rest of your life. A BCHS investigation may not carry the same penalties as a criminal trial, but it is still a very serious matter that can change the course of your life. It is vital you take these processes seriously in order to protect your registration, your career, and your family.
Conduct that Can Lead to a BCHS Investigation
In Michigan, CNAs are held to high standards of professional conduct and are expected to act with integrity. Whether you work as a nurse aide in a hospital in Detroit, a nursing home in Lansing, or anywhere else in the state, you are held to these same standards of conduct.
The BCHS accepts reports from anyone who knows or suspects that a CNA has violated expected standards of conduct, including other medical professionals, members of management at a healthcare facility, or even members of the public. The BCHS will review all complaints to determine if they should be investigated. It will investigate reports that involve any of the following, as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations:
- Abuse of patients is defined as "willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish."
- Neglect of patients is defined as "failure . . . to provide goods and services to a resident that are necessary to avoid physical harm, pain, mental anguish, or emotional distress."
- Misappropriation of patients' property, or "the deliberate misplacement, exploitation, or wrongful, temporary or permanent use of a resident's belongings or money without the resident's consent."
The Board takes its responsibilities to protect patients in Michigan and hold CNAs to high professional standards very seriously, and it will review every single complaint it receives to determine if it should be investigated. The Board wants to protect patients in Michigan, but this also means that it will not hesitate to take disciplinary action if it finds that a CNA has acted unprofessionally or inappropriately.
Michigan Nurse Aide Complaint Investigation Process
In Michigan, a facility or an individual can file a complaint against a CNA to the Bureau of Community and Health Systems (BCHS). They can even file such a complaint anonymously if they wish, though this may make it hard for BCHS to conduct a thorough investigation. However, BCHS is committed to reviewing all complaints for evidence of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of patient property. If the Bureau finds evidence of one of these behaviors, it will begin a further investigation.
At this point, if you are being investigated by BCHS, you will receive a notification of the investigation within ten days. The notification must include the nature of what you've been accused of when it happened, an explanation of your right to a hearing, as well as information about the next steps in the process—including the fact that you have the right to be represented by an attorney. Don't try to go through this process on your own when so much is at stake. Contact The Lento Law Firm Team to get the legal help you need to defend your CNA registration. Our experienced professional defense attorneys can help you respond appropriately at all phases of the investigation.
The BCHS will investigate the matter and speak to all of the people involved to try to determine what happened. If the investigation finds evidence to substantiate the report and the CNA's conduct meets the requirements of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation, the BCHS will issue a Notice of Intent to Flag, which states that the Bureau intends to cite you as having committed an offense on the registry. At this point, you can—and absolutely should—request an administrative hearing to defend your CNA registration and present evidence to change the Board's mind.
Keep in mind that if you do not request a hearing within 30 days, the BCHS will treat the report as substantiated, and it will report this information to the facility where you work (and the facility where the alleged abuse took place, if different), the person who made the report, and the nurse aide registry. If your registration is flagged with negative findings, you will not be able to work at a facility covered under the Code of Federal Regulations, which includes any facility that works with patients on Medicare. Other facilities may hesitate to hire you, as well, because negative findings could give the impression that it's not safe for you to be around patients. This could have a huge impact on your life and your family. Requesting a hearing is very important because it allows you to present evidence to defend your actions and keep your registration status as a CNA.
Requesting a hearing gives you an opportunity to present your side of the story and defend yourself. The BCHS is dedicated to investigating potential reports of abuse and has a lot of experience doing so, and they can spend significant resources to try to prove their case. Retaining a skilled Michigan professional license defense attorney can help you level the playing field in this very unusual situation. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to provide evidence that will change the BCHS's idea of what took place—and allow you to keep your CNA registration. This is a very high-stakes situation with the potential to affect the rest of your life. The Lento Law Firm's Professional Defense team can help you tell your side of the story truthfully, completely, and strategically, to make sure that the BCHS understands what really took place. These administrative hearings are very unusual situations, but the Lento Law Firm team can help you feel comfortable and understand the best way through this complex situation.
Consequences of a BCHS Investigation with a Finding of Abuse or Misappropriation of Property
If the BCHS's investigation finds that the complaint is substantiated, it will first notify the person who reported the incident, the facility where the abuse took place, the facility where you now work (if different), and the nurse aide registry. Your CNA registration will no longer be valid, and you will not be able to work as a nurse aide at a covered facility in Michigan. Even if you can find a facility that is not considered a "covered facility," you might not be an attractive prospective employee if you have negative findings on your CNA registry. For cases involving abuse and misuse of patient property, this action will be considered permanent. You will no longer be able to work as a CNA or nurse aide, and the findings of the investigation will be publicly available indefinitely on the nurse aide registry. This could change the course of your life. Not only would you no longer be able to work as a CNA, but the results of the investigation could show up on future background checks—or even just if someone decides to check the nurse aide registry out of curiosity. That's why you should contact the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team as soon as you receive notice that the BCHS has launched an investigation into your conduct. Your experienced professional license defense attorney can help you gather evidence in order to tell your side of the story effectively and present any exonerating or explanatory evidence that might help BCHS decide.
What I Have a Finding of Neglect as a Nurse Aide?
Unlike findings of abuse or misappropriation of patient property, which will stay on the nurse aide registry permanently, a finding of neglect may not have to be on your record forever. After a year has passed from the date of the neglect finding, you can petition the BCHS to have the neglect finding removed from the registry. You must include a personal attestation of why you feel the finding should be removed, an explanation of whether the occurrence was a pattern or happened only once, and an explanation of your personal and work history and how this incident of neglect was not part of a larger pattern of abusive behavior or neglect. The BCHS will review your request within 30 days and determine whether this finding of neglect can be removed from your record in the registry. With these findings removed from the registry, you could once again work as a CNA in a covered facility in Michigan. This could make a huge difference to your career and your reputation. The Lento Law Firm can help you put these materials together if you have a neglect finding on the registry to clear your name and regain your good professional reputation.
What to Do If You Are Being Investigated as a CNA
If you receive notification that the BCHS is investigating a report about your conduct as a Michigan CNA, you will probably feel a number of different emotions—shock, anger, fear for your career, and worry, just to name a few. This is completely normal. However, it's important to take action to protect your CNA registration status as soon as possible. You should read the notice of the investigation carefully, then contact the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for help. Our attorneys can help you request a hearing so that you have an opportunity to respond to the allegations and tell your side of the story in order to defend yourself and your professional registration. The Lento Law Firm Team can help you craft a written response and prepare to defend yourself in a hearing. Remember that if the BCHS finds evidence that you abused or neglected a patient or misappropriated patient property and you do not request a hearing on the matter, it will automatically be considered substantiated and reported to the nurse aide registry.
How a Professional License Defense Attorney Can Help in Michigan
Few people are really familiar with administrative hearings, such as BCHS's investigation hearings. Many people have seen criminal and civil trials on TV shows, but administrative law hearings don't have to follow the same process and rules as trials do. They are a totally different area of law, and they require a different approach to present your side of the story and protect your CNA registration.
The Lento Law Firm's License Defense Team is very familiar with the standards of administrative law. Our experienced attorneys can help you present your story accurately and completely in the hearing to help BCHS truly understand what took care and what consequences—if any—are appropriate. We can also help you handle any witnesses that the BCHS may call or call witnesses to support your case and present your side of the story.
As a CNA, you work with patients who are experiencing illness or recovering from major medical procedures. These patients may not be in their best frame of mind, and they may misinterpret or misremember your actions. Or their family members may do the same. In a high-pressure situation, nursing aides may take action to help their patients that observers do not understand, leading to a report of abuse or neglect. In many cases, you may be able to explain your actions to the BCHS, with the help of a skilled professional license defense attorney, and keep your CNA registration—and your career. At high-stress times like this, it's important to have an advocate on your side to help you stay calm, present the whole story, and make sure that you've remembered all of the details. Our professional license defense team is here to help you navigate this difficult situation and work to get the best outcome possible.
Who We Can Help
The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team can help CNAs across Michigan who are facing investigations for alleged misconduct. We can help CNAs who work for Spectrum Health facilities in the Grand Rapids Area, the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, McLaren Health Care, University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Beaumont Health, Ascension Michigan, St. Joseph Mercy Health System and Mercy Health, Sparrow Health System, Detroit Medical Center, and MidMichigan Health hospitals, among others. We also represent CNAs who work in nursing homes and nursing facilities, including Trinity Continuing Care Services, the MediLodge Group, Bortz Health Care, HCR Manor Care, Sava Senior Care, Olympia Group, Evangelical Homes of Michigan, Autumn Woods Residential Health Care facility, or any other nursing facility in Michigan. Regardless of what facility you work in or what kind of medical care you provide to patients, the Lento Law Firm can help you protect your CNA registration.
Whether you live and work in Detroit, Lansing, Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, or any other city or town in Michigan, you can turn to the Lento Law Firm for help. Our experienced professional license defense attorneys can help you respond to allegations of abuse, misappropriation of patient property, or neglect that may threaten your ability to work as a CNA. With our firm's help, you can defend yourself in administrative hearings with BCHS and tell your side of the story. Don't let your medical career get derailed by a BCHS investigation. Get in touch with the Lento Law Firm today online or at 888-535-3686 for help, no matter where you are located in Michigan. We are available to help you defend yourself during a BCHS investigation, both in writing and in person, as needed. The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team knows that your CNA registration—and your career—matters to you, and we take all investigations seriously.
Get Help Today to Protect Your CNA Registration
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is ready to help you defend your CNA registration in Michigan. If you're facing an investigation by BCHS and worried about how this could affect your ability to work as a certified nursing assistant or nurse aide, call the Lento Law Firm Team today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to set up a consultation to discuss your case. Our experienced lawyers can help you protect your career and your reputation to ensure that you can maintain your registration as a nurse aide in Michigan. Your career matters, and you deserve a strong defense during the investigation process. Don't let BCHS walk all over you—stand up for yourself with the help of the Lento Law Firm Team.