If you're licensed as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) in New Jersey, it's apparent that you care about the career you've chosen. Not only does it require extensive schooling and experience to become a CRNP, but it's an often-thankless job filled with long hours. Yet, because you're passionate about what you do, it's a rewarding career.
And yet, despite your dedication, the reality is that even a minor oversight or mistake can lead to having your license investigated. The New Jersey State Board of Nursing takes all allegations of misconduct seriously, and they have broad authority to suspend or revoke your license with a minimum burden of proof. Without that license, the future of your career is highly in doubt.
While you may think you can defend yourself against such accusations, it's important to understand that the disciplinary process for healthcare professionals in New Jersey is complex and often confusing. You need an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of the New Jersey licensing laws to ensure you get the best possible outcome. Your career may depend on it. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced New Jersey professional license defense attorney who has helped many people like you in similar situations. He and his team will work to protect your CRNP license and make sure your rights are protected. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
What Types of Allegations Can Put a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner's License at Risk?
The Board of Nursing in New Jersey investigates a wide range of alleged violations that can put your license at risk. These include, but are not limited to:
- Unprofessional conduct. This can refer to anything from acting rudely or disparagingly at work to sexual harassment to an inappropriate romantic relationship with someone you're treating.
- Patient abuse or neglect. If a CRNP physically, verbally, mentally, or emotionally abuses a patient or fails to give them timely or adequate treatment, this is often grounds for revoking their license.
- Fraud. Examples of fraud range from billing for services not provided to "upcoding" procedures on insurance claims to accepting kickbacks for referrals, etc.
- Mishandling of drugs. Like physicians, CRNPs are authorized to prescribe medications. Behaviors such as writing prescriptions without a legitimate medical reason, keeping inaccurate inventories, or diverting medications for your personal use could all be grounds for loss of license.
- Substance abuse. If you drink to excess or use drugs, it will reflect poorly on your ability to care for patients and may result in disciplinary action.
- Criminal convictions. Being convicted of certain crimes (especially those involving drug use or crimes of moral turpitude) could disqualify you from practicing as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner in New Jersey.
What Does the Disciplinary Process Look Like?
In the vast majority of cases, disciplinary action against a CRNP in New Jersey begins with a formal complaint made to the Board of Nursing. In most cases, complainants may be patients, colleagues, healthcare facilities, or insurance companies—but any member of the public can file a complaint.
Once the Board has received a complaint against you, the disciplinary process moves through the following stages.
Request for Written Response
The Board will begin by notifying you of the complaint in writing and requesting a written response from you. You want to make this response as compelling as possible since the Board has the authority to drop a complaint with no additional action if you can give a convincing explanation for what happened--especially if you support it with proof. An experienced license defense attorney can help draft a convincing written response.
After the Board receives the complaint, it will go to a Preliminary Evaluation Committee (PEC) for further evaluation. The PEC will assign an investigator who will look for pieces of evidence that support the claim. This may include interviews with people involved, requests for specific documents, and other activities. You may also be asked by the PEC to appear in person and testify truthfully about what happened under oath.
If the investigation finds enough evidence of wrongdoing, the Board of Nursing may offer to reach a consent order with you as an alternative to holding a formal hearing. A consent order is an agreement in which you submit to the board's penalties as part of a legally binding decision. A consent order may not be the best option in every case, but it might be a good choice if disciplinary action is inevitable—especially if your attorney negotiates for lenient terms and/or a pathway to reinstatement of your license.
If the investigation produces sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, and if you have no consent order in place, you will be summoned to a formal hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to show cause why the Board should not revoke your license. The ALJ's recommendation to the Board about your case will be based on the evidence provided. The Board will then use that information to decide what disciplinary action, if any, to take--up to and including revoking your license. Having a good attorney present at the hearing can make a big difference in the ultimate outcome.
Why You Need a New Jersey License Defense Attorney
As a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner in New Jersey, the moment a complaint is filed against you, you're placed at a disadvantage. The Board of Nursing has a duty to protect the public, and they have no problem revoking the license of a CRNP whom they believe has violated their standards. There is no guaranteed presumption of innocence—in fact, the Board basically expects you to prove how you didn't commit misconduct. Without a good attorney by your side, the worst-case scenario (i.e., revoking your license) becomes much more likely.
An experienced New Jersey license defense attorney helps level the playing field and gives you the fighting chance you deserve. An attorney can help you navigate the disciplinary process, explain your options and chances of success, prepare a compelling written response to the Board, negotiate to have the complaint dropped, negotiate for lenient terms in a consent order if appropriate, represent you at hearings, and ensure that you have the best chance possible of keeping your license.
If you are a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner in New Jersey and you have received notification of a complaint against your license, don't wait to be summoned to a hearing to get legal assistance. Hiring a good attorney early in the process greatly improves your chances of keeping your license and saving your career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of proven experience, and he and his team will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.