Montana Nurse Practitioner License Defense

As a Montana nurse practitioner, you likely understand that formal complaints shouldn't be ignored. Your license could be in jeopardy if a patient or other such party files a complaint accusing you of professional misconduct or a similar violation. Depending on the outcome of the case, you may lose the privilege to practice nursing in the state, at least temporarily.

Defending yourself is vital when someone files a complaint. At the Lento Law Firm, our Professional License Defense Team is prepared to offer rigorous defense during what may otherwise be a stressful time. Learn more about how we can restore your confidence and protect your nurse practitioner license by calling us at (888)-535-3686 or submitting our online contact form.

Who Governs Nurse Practitioner Licenses in Montana?

A Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) is a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Montana. The Montana Board of Nursing (referred to as the Board for the remainder of this overview), part of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, issues CNP licenses in the state.

The Board also handles formal complaints. After the Department of Labor and Industry evaluates a complaint, it may present the matter to the Board, which will determine whether further disciplinary action is necessary.

How Does Someone File a Complaint Against a Nurse Practitioner in Montana?

Filing a complaint against a CNP involves first contacting the Department of Labor and Industry's Compliance Unit. A complainant may do so by completing and submitting the Compliance Unit's online complaint form.

Another option is to draft a complaint by providing the same information one would provide if they had submitted the complaint form digitally. A complainant can submit their complaint in the following ways if they don't submit it directly through the Compliance Unit's website:

  • Mail: P.O. Box 200514, Helena, MT 59620-0514
  • Fax: (406) 841-2313
  • Email: [email protected]

Complainants are encouraged to review the statutes and rules that apply to CNPs in Montana. They should reference the specific statutes or rules they believe have been violated when filing their complaints.

In some instances, a complainant might remain anonymous when reporting a nurse practitioner for unprofessional conduct. This can happen if their complaint gets dismissed early in the process.

Generally, however, complainants can't remain anonymous throughout the entire complaint process in Montana. This is partially because the Board needs to cite evidence to justify any disciplinary action it takes. Thus, a complainant may need to testify during an administrative hearing.

What Does the Nurse Practitioner Complaint Process Involve in Montana?

The following typically occurs after someone files a complaint against a nurse practitioner in Montana:

  • Initial review: The Board has the authority to fully investigate complaints and take action against licensees accordingly. However, before the Board gets involved, the Compliance Unit performs an initial review of a complaint. The purpose of this review is to determine if, based on the nature of the allegations, the Board has the legal authority to handle the matter. The Compliance Unit will notify a complainant when it dismisses a complaint because the Board doesn't have the authority to process it.
  • Additional information: The Compliance Unit will often gather additional information related to a complaint if it finds the Board does have the authority to process it after the initial review. This information-gathering stage may involve interviewing witnesses, gathering and analyzing documents, and requesting a written response to a complaint. Complainants should be aware that it will usually take several months to complete this process.
  • Screening panel: An attorney representing the Department of Labor and Industry will present the case to a Board “screening panel” after completing the initial case review. The screening panel can dismiss a case at this stage. Or, it can decide to move forward with formal disciplinary action.
  • Notice: The attorney representing the Department will send a Notice of Proposed Board Action & Opportunity for Hearing to the nurse practitioner in question if the Board decides to move forward with formal disciplinary action. Even if the Board dismisses the complaint, it will still send a notice letting the CNP know of the status of the complaint.

A nurse practitioner has multiple potential options when they discover the Board is pursuing formal disciplinary action. If you're facing disciplinary action due to a complaint someone has filed against you in Montana, our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help you better determine how you should proceed.

What Are a CNP's Options When the Montana Board of Nursing Pursues Disciplinary Action?

A Board case against a CNP isn't a criminal case. Regardless, these cases and criminal cases may share some similarities. For example, in a criminal case, a defendant may negotiate a plea bargain in which they admit guilt in exchange for lenient sentencing.

A similar option is available to a nurse practitioner facing Board disciplinary action in Montana. If someone has filed a complaint against you, you could admit to at least some facts of the complaint. If the Board deems it appropriate, you may resolve the case by entering into a stipulated agreement in which you agree to abide by certain disciplinary sanctions.

Another option is to request a hearing before an impartial hearing officer. You may consider this option if you disagree with the allegations against you and wish to contest the disciplinary action you may currently face.

It can take several months to resolve a case when a nurse practitioner requests a hearing. A Board “adjudication panel,” consisting of Board members who did not serve on the screening panel, may issue a final order when such a case concludes.

A lawyer can help in many ways in these circumstances. Again, our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help you sort through your options when you're not sure how to respond to a complaint and threat of disciplinary action. If you choose to request a hearing, we can also provide the dedicated representation you deserve.

What is ‘Unprofessional Conduct' for a CNP in Montana?

Unprofessional conduct is a common reason for filing a complaint against a nurse practitioner or similar licensee in Montana. Per Montana law, unprofessional conduct for CNPs may consist of any of the following:

  • Not exercising proper judgment and accounting for the level of nursing one is licensed for when performing nursing tasks
  • Not exercise proper technical competence when performing nursing care tasks
  • Not following established procedures to ensure patient safety in given situations and circumstances
  • Not safeguarding a patient's dignity/right to privacy
  • Abusing patients (whether verbally, physically, or both)
  • Performing procedures that, per the applicable rules, one's license doesn't qualify them for
  • Manipulating or altering patient records, drug supplies, or narcotics
  • Falsifying patient records (whether intentionally or unintentionally)
  • Diversion of medication for any reason
  • Violating any relevant state or federal laws regarding drugs
  • Intentionally committing an act that has a negative impact on a patient's welfare (whether that impact be physical, psychosocial, or both)
  • Delegating tasks to individuals who aren't qualified for those tasks based on Montana law or nursing rules in a way that adversely affects patient safety
  • Not properly supervising individuals practicing under one's supervision
  • Leaving an assignment without notifying the relevant personnel
  • Practicing nursing without a current Montana license
  • Not reporting to the Board any violations of the relevant laws or rules that one may be aware of (even if they're not the one who committed the violation)
  • Having another health care license or certificate denied, revoked, suspended, placed on probation, or voluntarily surrendered in Montana or any other state or jurisdiction
  • Not complying with the provisions of a nurses' assistance program contract
  • Not signing or accepting a certified mailing from the Board office
  • Not cooperating in a Department of Labor and Industry investigation
  • When one is a named party in a malpractice, professional misconduct, criminal, or disciplinary action case, failing to report the outcome of the case to the Board within 30 days of said outcome
  • Violating any state or federal law while performing or attempting to perform a nursing task

The above list is fairly comprehensive. However, it doesn't necessarily represent all the reasons someone might have for filing a complaint against a CNP in Montana.

That said, a complainant usually needs to explain how a nurse practitioner violated a specific statute or rule when filing a complaint against them. This critical aspect of a case may influence a defense strategy. For example, it may be possible for attorneys to point out how a complainant failed to cite an applicable law when describing the nature of the alleged violation.

That's just one example of a potential defense strategy. Our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is prepared to tailor our strategy to your needs based on the details of your case.

What Types of Disciplinary Action Can the Board of Nursing Take in Montana?

Many factors can affect what type of disciplinary action a CNP may face in Montana if the Board determines a violation has occurred. Common forms of disciplinary action the Board can take include:

  • License revocation
  • License suspension
  • Placing restrictions or limitations on a nurse's privilege to practice
  • Requiring a nurse practitioner to satisfactorily complete a remedial education or treatment program
  • Requiring a nurse practitioner to be monitored by a supervisor for a set period of time
  • Public or private censure or reprimand
  • Probation
  • A fine of up to $1,000 per violation
  • Denying a license application
  • Refund of costs and fees incurred by a consumer (who may have been the party who filed a complaint)

If the Board decides to take final disciplinary action against a nurse practitioner, information about said disciplinary action would be available through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry “licensee lookup” tool. Thus, disciplinary action can affect everything from a nurse's professional reputation to their ability to secure employment going forward.

No one can guarantee a specific outcome to your case. Regardless, you may have a better chance of achieving a desirable outcome (or avoiding excessively severe sanctions) with a proper defense. That's exactly what the Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is prepared to offer.

We can also explain what you must do to comply with the terms of a final disciplinary decision. For example, perhaps a case results in license suspension or revocation. You'll need to surrender your license within 24 hours if so.

Areas of Montana: Our Nurse Practitioner License Defense Team Serves

The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can defend nurse practitioners throughout the state when their licenses are at risk. Key metro and statistical areas we serve include the following:

  • Billings
  • Bozeman
  • Butte-Silver Bow
  • Great Falls
  • Helena
  • Kalispell
  • Missoula

Having lawyers on your side when someone has filed a complaint against you is beneficial for many reasons. The following are just a few noteworthy examples:

  • Understanding of the law and processes: Attorneys' familiarity with the law can benefit your case in numerous ways. For instance, lawyers may be able to show how the nature of your alleged behavior doesn't constitute a violation of any applicable laws or statutes.
  • Representing you during a hearing: If you request a hearing, lawyers can defend you the same way they would during a criminal trial or hearing. This may involve presenting your side of the story with supporting evidence. Our team can assist in gathering this evidence if necessary.
  • Explaining options: Remember that requesting a hearing isn't your only option when someone files a complaint. You can also admit to certain allegations and agree to abide by the terms of disciplinary sanctions. Although our team can't make these types of decisions for you, we can help you evaluate the benefits and potential drawbacks of such strategies.

What's most important is being proactive when someone files a complaint that could affect your career for years to come. If someone has filed a complaint against you, our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is ready to get started on your case. Find out more by submitting our online contact form or calling our offices at (888)-535-3686 today.


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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