We Can Help If Your Michigan Nurse's License Is in Jeopardy
If you have just learned that Michigan's Board of Nursing is pursuing disciplinary charges against your Michigan nursing license, then you have every reason to be seriously concerned. License disciplinary proceedings can wreak havoc on your nursing career. If you lose your license to discipline, you will not practice nursing in Michigan or likely elsewhere. Michigan nursing license disciplinary charges place your nursing job and career at serious risk.
Your best move, if you face Michigan Board of Nursing disciplinary charges, is to promptly retain highly qualified professional license defense representation. Do not seek an unqualified local criminal defense lawyer who doesn't know administrative licensing procedures and strategies. Instead, retain the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for the best possible outcome to your Michigan nursing license misconduct charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the premier attorney representation you need to protect your nursing license and career.
Michigan Board of Nursing License Proceedings
The Michigan Board of Nursing regulates licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Michigan does not have a single Nurse Practice Act but instead establishes the Michigan Board of Nursing and regulates nursing practice through the state's Occupational Code. Michigan Compiled Laws Section 333.17221 creates Michigan's Board of Nursing and empowers it to license and discipline nurses. Following statutes state the requirements for each type of nursing license. Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221 lists the grounds on which the Board of Nursing may discipline a licensed nurse. The Board of Nursing follows administrative regulations at Michigan Administrative Code Sections R338.1601 et seq. carrying out that licensing and disciplinary authority.
The Risk of Michigan Board of Nursing License Charges
Thus, whether you practice nursing in a Michigan hospital, clinic, home, or other healthcare setting, you practice in a very closely regulated environment. Michigan's Division of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs publishes weekly disciplinary action reports naming disciplined nurses, their misconduct, and the form of license discipline, whether suspension or revocation. The FBI's Operation Nightingale, identifying over 7,600 nurses who allegedly used fraudulent nursing credentials for licensure, has increased that disciplinary scrutiny, including on Michigan nurses. A hospital industry update indicates that Michigan's Board of Nursing has pursued discipline against at least seven nurses relating to the credentials scandal. If you face Michigan disciplinary charges, retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team for your skilled and experienced defense.
Michigan Board of Nursing Rules and Standards
Michigan statutory law and administrative regulations govern your nursing license disciplinary proceeding. Michigan's Bureau of Professional Licensing licenses and disciplines healthcare professionals, including nurses, under Michigan Board of Nursing standards. If you violate one of the prohibitions for healthcare practice that Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221 lists, the Board of Nursing will seek your discipline to protect patients and the public. Your effective defense of Michigan disciplinary charges will require a highly qualified professional license defense attorney who knows these Michigan rules and standards. Your license defense attorney also needs to have the skill and experience to know how to strategically invoke the Michigan Board of Nursing's disciplinary procedures, the same statutes and regulations are well known. . Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain qualified counsel.
Valuing Your Michigan Board of Nursing License
Value your Michigan nursing license. If you don't know what you hold in a Michigan nursing license, you may not give your disciplinary charges the time, attention, and resources they deserve. Your nursing license's defense will require your prompt and diligent attention, especially to retain highly qualified counsel to protect your procedural rights and substantive interests. Earning your Michigan nursing license took a tremendous investment. Don't forget all that you invested in completing your nursing education, passing the NCLEX, and gaining your license to begin nursing practice. And don't overlook the practical knowledge and skills your nursing practice has added to your training and education. Your family, employer, and community value your nursing license and practice. Be sure that you give your nursing license the value it deserves. That value warrants retaining the best available representation. The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available to represent you in Michigan.
What Michigan Board of Nursing Disciplinary Charges Mean
Appreciate, too, what Michigan disciplinary charges mean and do not mean. Disciplinary charges do not mean that disciplinary officials have determined that you committed misconduct. On the contrary, charges are only allegations that may depend on guess, conjecture, speculation, or misunderstanding. As career professionals, often with a healthcare or even a nursing background, disciplinary officials know that misconduct complaints from patients, their family members, colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, and others can be mistaken. Disciplinary officials also know that when a nurse commits misconduct, the nurse may have mitigating circumstances to explain. Don't take a charge as the condemnation of your nursing capacity. Instead, respond to the charge proactively through your retained counsel. Trust the administrative disciplinary process while also trusting the best available Professional License Defense Attorney Team. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now for the representation you need to respond appropriately to disciplinary charges.
The Nature of Michigan Board of Nursing Disciplinary Charges
You should also understand how Michigan nursing license disciplinary charges differ from criminal court charges and civil court claims for your malpractice liability. Criminal court charges proceed in criminal court, where a public prosecutor would argue for the criminal defendant's fine and incarceration. Civil court claims for nursing malpractice liability seek a money judgment paid by insurance or out of the defendant nurse's personal assets. By contrast, nursing license disciplinary charges proceed only against the nurse's license, not the nurse's freedom from jail or prison, and not the nurse's malpractice insurance or personal assets. Nursing license disciplinary charges also proceed in an administrative tribunal before a specially trained hearing officer rather than in a criminal or civil court before a judge and jury. Administrative license proceedings have entirely different rules and procedures from a criminal or civil court. The highly qualified Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has unique experience that a local criminal defense attorney or civil litigator will not have.
Increased Stakes of Michigan Board of Nursing Charges
You have more at stake in your Michigan nursing license proceeding than just your ability to practice nursing in Michigan. Your discipline in Michigan may affect your ability to practice anywhere else in the United States. Michigan is among the thirty-nine states participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact. Your Michigan nursing licensure thus means that you may practice as a licensed practice nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN) in any other Compact state, although not in other nursing specialties as to which each state continues to license their own nurses. Multistate nursing licensure can be a great advantage if you anticipate moving from state to state to pursue your professional career or personal and family interests. But multistate licensure also effectively means multistate discipline. Michigan disciplinary officials will enter your Michigan nursing license discipline in the Compact's national Nursys database, where employers and licensing officials in other states may learn of your discipline. Don't lose your ability to pursue your nursing career in all states. Instead, defend your Michigan nursing license to the fullest extent with highly qualified license defense representation.
What Allegations Put a Michigan Nursing License at Risk?
Nurses are not alone in facing license disciplinary issues. Other professionals face many of the same misconduct allegations and issues. But nurses also face license issues unique to their healthcare field. Medical and nursing practices bring professionals into constant contact with highly vulnerable individuals who already suffer from a disease, disability, and impending demise. That fluid and highest-stakes professional environment can readily expose a nurse to a very wide variety of misconduct charges. Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221, applicable to both nursing and other healthcare professions, lists the following grounds for nursing license discipline in five separate categories. The Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team is available in Michigan to defend any of the following misconduct charges.
Michigan Board of Nursing General Duty Charges
Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221(a) authorizes discipline for violating a “general duty.” General-duty violations consist of “negligence or failure to exercise due care, including negligent delegation to or supervision of employees or other individuals, whether or not injury results, or any conduct, practice, or condition that impairs, or may impair, the ability to safely and skillfully engage in the practice of the health profession.” You can see how broad general-duty charges can be. Any departure from nursing standards, whether or not resulting in patient injury, could result in disciplinary charges.
Michigan Board of Nursing Personal Disqualification Charges
Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221(b) authorizes discipline based on a nurse's “personal disqualification.” Personal disqualification grounds can also be extremely broad, especially when they come to judgments of “good moral character.” Beware of personal disqualification charges. The specific grounds for personal disqualification include:
- incompetence in nursing practice;
- a substance use disorder as the mental health code defines;
- mental or physical inability adversely affecting the nurse's ability to practice in a safe and competent manner;
- declaration of mental incompetence by a court of competent jurisdiction;
- conviction of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for a maximum term of two years;
- conviction of a misdemeanor involving the illegal delivery, possession, or use of a controlled substance;
- conviction of a felony other than a felony the statute specifically exempts;
- lack of good moral character;
- conviction of a misdemeanor or felony involving fraud in obtaining or attempting to obtain fees related to the practice of a health profession;
- final adverse administrative action by a licensure, registration, disciplinary, or certification board in another state; or
- conviction of a misdemeanor that adversely affects the nurse's ability to practice in a safe and competent manner.
Michigan Board of Nursing Specific Prohibited Acts
Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221(c) authorizes discipline based on certain specific “prohibited acts.” These prohibitions include the ones under which the Michigan Board of Nursing would discipline a nurse who presented fraudulent educational credentials, as the FBI's Operation Nightingale alleges. But the specific prohibitions also include the serious prescription medication rules to which nurses must give special attention. The specific prohibited acts include:
- fraud or deceit in obtaining or renewing a license or registration;
- permitting a license or registration to be used by an unauthorized person;
- practice outside the scope of a license;
- obtaining, possessing, or attempting to obtain or possess a controlled substance or drug without lawful authority; and
- selling, prescribing, giving away, or administering drugs for other than lawful diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
Michigan Board of Nursing Unethical Business Practice Charges
Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221(d) authorizes discipline based on certain specified “unethical business practices.” The prohibited business practices include false or misleading advertising; dividing fees for referral of patients; accepting kickbacks on medical or surgical services, appliances, or medications purchased by or on behalf of patients; and fraud or deceit in obtaining or attempting to obtain third-party reimbursement.
Michigan Board of Nursing Unprofessional Conduct Charges
Finally, Michigan Compiled Law Section 333.16221(e) authorizes discipline based on certain “unprofessional conduct.” Like others of the above categories, this unprofessional conduct category includes some prohibitions so broad as to give disciplinary officials extraordinary discretion. Be sure to promptly retain highly qualified counsel if facing unprofessional conduct charges. The statute's prohibitions include:
- misrepresentation to a consumer or patient in obtaining or attempting to obtain third-party reimbursement in the course of professional practice;
- betrayal of a professional confidence;
- promotion for personal gain of an unnecessary drug, device, treatment, procedure, or service;
- requiring that an individual purchase or secure a drug, device, treatment, procedure, or service from another person, place, facility, or business in which the licensee or registrant has a financial interest;
- any conduct with a patient while the nurse is acting as a nurse, including conduct initiated by a patient or to which the patient consents, that is sexual or may reasonably be interpreted as sexual, including but not limited to sexual intercourse, kissing in a sexual manner, or touching of a body part for any purpose other than appropriate examination, treatment, or comfort; and
- offering to provide practice-related services, such as drugs, in exchange for sexual favors.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Michigan Nurses?
Michigan's Board of Nursing follows the Public Health Code's Disciplinary Rules published in Michigan Administrative Code Sections R338.1601 et seq. Those administrative disciplinary procedures satisfy Michigan's obligation to provide you with constitutional due process when seeking to affect your property and liberty interest in your nursing license. While these administrative rules are complex, the Lento Law Firm Team can invoke them strategically on your behalf and in your license defense.
Michigan Board of Nursing Complaints
Michigan Administrative Code Section R338.1604 authorizes disciplinary officials to conduct a review of “all allegations” and any matters that arise outside of any complaint “to determine if reasonable grounds for an investigation exists.” In other words, your disciplinary investigation need not have a specific complainant or source. Patients, their family members, and professional colleagues may be common sources of nursing complaints. Michigan's Board of Nursing invites such complaints. But your matter may just as readily arise from your public arrest, a civil lawsuit, a media report, or any other source.
Michigan Board of Nursing Investigations
Some Michigan nurse disciplinary proceedings require no investigation, such as where a criminal court has convicted the nurse of a crime that disqualifies the nurse from licensure and practice. In other cases, though, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will appoint an investigator to interview the complainant and witnesses and obtain and review documents and other evidence to summarize in an investigation report. Once an investigation commences, it may be wide-ranging. Michigan Administrative Code Section R338.1604 specifically authorizes the investigator to explore beyond the scope of the complaint: “The department's investigation conducted as required or permitted by the code may encompass possible violations other than those specifically identified when the investigation was initiated.” If you learn of an investigation against your Michigan nursing license, promptly contact the Lento Law Firm to intercede, if possible, with your exonerating and mitigating evidence. We may be able to convince the investigator to recommend the dismissal of the charges.
Michigan Board of Nursing Formal Complaints
If the Michigan Board of Nursing determines from the investigation report to pursue disciplinary charges, then under Michigan Administrative Code Section R338.1607a, disciplinary officials file a formal administrative complaint with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings. That Office then serves a notice of charges on the accused nurse, who has thirty days within which to respond or suffer default to the charges. Retain highly qualified license defense counsel to help you timely file an answer raising all defenses. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs may then conduct a compliance conference to see if the parties can agree as to what occurred. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the case proceeds to a formal hearing.
Michigan Board of Nursing Consent Agreements
Under Michigan Administrative Code Section R338.1608, if the parties agree at a compliance conference as to what occurred, they may seek a hearing for the Board of Nursing to approve the findings. The parties may reach a consent agreement, including terms and conditions for the accused nurse to meet to avoid a formal hearing and discipline. The disciplinary officials or you and your retained counsel may propose consent agreements and terms and negotiate toward a favorable resolution. While a consent agreement may be a good option, that depends on your circumstances and the terms and conditions the consent agreement imposes. Do not enter into a consent agreement without retaining highly qualified counsel to advise you. Some consent agreements are not ways out of discipline but instead, discipline traps. If you cannot meet a consent agreement's terms and conditions, the agreement may provide for your license's automatic revocation.
Michigan Board of Nursing Formal Hearings
The rules for nurse disciplinary proceedings at Michigan Administrative Code Sections R338.1601 et seq. provide for a formal hearing before an administrative law judge for cases that do not resolve by agreement. The administrative law judge will hear the Board of Nursing's evidence against you while permitting your retained license defense attorney to present your witnesses and exhibits. Your attorney may also cross-examine the Board's witnesses against you and may also research, draft, and submit hearing briefs arguing the law and evidence. The administrative law judge will issue a decision that the Board of Nursing may accept or reject. The administrative law judge must record the hearing and write the grounds for the decision so that the Board, you and your retained defense counsel, and any reviewing body may know the rationale and evidence for the decision. The Board may also remand your case for further hearing as necessary. Administrative procedures permit only limited court review of the Board of Nursing's final decision. The Lento Law Firm can be on your side during these hearings.
Why You Need a Nursing License Defense Attorney in Michigan
While the above protective procedures give you the opportunity to contest Michigan nursing license disciplinary charges, you are at a distinct disadvantage in doing so unless you retain a highly qualified license defense attorney. Michigan's Board of Nursing and Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs have unlimited resources to pursue license discipline against you. The disciplinary officials those agencies employ are also career professionals who know how to implicate unrepresented nurses in wrongdoing. And they need only prove the charges against you by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt as in criminal cases. That proof standard requires you to come forward with exonerating and mitigating evidence. Yet when you retain a highly qualified defense attorney, you level the playing field. You regain the upper hand to show that your conduct and character do not warrant discipline.
License Defense Team for Michigan Board or Nursing Charges
Retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team and national license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento to address your Michigan Board of Nursing disciplinary charges. Hundreds of other professionals nationwide have trusted the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. You have every good reason to do so, too. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now.