New Mexico Nurse Practitioner License Defense

Obtaining a license as a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) in New Mexico is a complex process requiring dedication and commitment on the part of an applicant. To become a CNP, you must show you've completed a relevant graduate-level nursing program and completed a National Certification as a nurse practitioner.

Unfortunately, even once you've obtained a license, said license could be jeopardized if someone accuses you of misconduct. Strongly consider protecting yourself in these circumstances by enlisting the help of legal professionals with experience handling cases like yours.

The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is available to offer the assistance you need right now. If someone has accused you of misconduct, call us at 888-535-3686 or submit our online contact form to learn more about what we can do for you and your career.

Who Can File a Complaint Against a Nurse Practitioner in New Mexico?

Someone may file a complaint against a CNP in New Mexico by contacting the New Mexico Board of Nursing. Anyone who has knowledge of an alleged violation on the part of a CNP may file a complaint against them.

The law usually protects those who file complaints from liability in civil actions resulting from a complaint. As long as someone files a complaint in good faith and “without actual malice,” a CNP usually can't sue them.

The Nursing Practice Act also requires that certain parties file complaints when they're aware of potential violations. Specifically, other nurses must report potential violations to the Board except in cases where doing so would involve a breach of patient confidentiality.

What Are the Grounds for Filing a Complaint Against a Nurse Practitioner in New Mexico?

There are various reasons a patient or other such individual may file a claim against a CNP in New Mexico. Per the Board, the following are common examples of reasons to file a complaint.

  • A CNP has engaged in fraud or otherwise deceptive tactics to obtain a professional license or certificate of registration.
  • A CNP has been convicted of a felony.
  • A CNP is incompetent or otherwise unfit to do their job.
  • A CNP has self-control issues that affect their work performance.
  • A CNP is addicted to habit-forming substances in a manner that affects their work.
  • A CNP is mentally incompetent.

The Board states this isn't a complete list. Although these are among the most common reasons for individuals to file complaints against CNPs in New Mexico, there are other reasons someone may accuse a CNP of a violation.

Someone accusing a CNP of a violation must include the following information with their complaint:

  • Their name, address, and telephone number
  • The name, address, telephone number, and license number of the CNP they're making a complaint about

The complaint must also include a description of the violation. Although the Board investigates virtually all complaints, a lack of sufficient information about a violation of the Nursing Practice Act may influence a case's outcome.

Examples of Professional Misconduct for New Mexico Nurse Practitioners

Per the Board, the following are examples of professional misconduct that may provide someone with reason to file a complaint against a CNP:

  • Disclosing confidential patient information to individuals or parties not legally entitled to such information
  • Falsifying patient records, personnel records, or both
  • Misappropriation of property, money, or drugs
  • Engaging in fraud or other deceptive practices to obtain a fee from a patient (whether a CNP attempts to obtain a fee for themselves or another party)
  • Helping someone commit a violation or hiring someone to commit a violation of the Nursing Practice Act
  • Providing or attempting to provide prescription drugs to anyone without proper authorization from someone legally qualified to grant it
  • Not adhering to established procedures and documentation for controlled substances
  • Failure to maintain records as required by law or by the standards nursing professionals must abide by
  • Practicing or attempting to practice nursing in New Mexico without a valid license
  • Failure to report another nurse for a suspected violation of the Nursing Practices Act
  • Engaging in intentional sexual contact with a patient or client that is outside of the scope of a nurse's job duties
  • Abandonment
  • Failure to maintain professional boundaries in a way that negatively affects a patient
  • Abusing a client, patient, or colleague
  • Practicing or attempting to practice beyond the scope of one's license

Although that's a fairly comprehensive list, it doesn't necessarily cover all the acts and behaviors that may constitute professional misconduct. If you're ever accused of professional misconduct as a CNP in New Mexico, an attorney with the Lento Law Firm could help you defend yourself.

What Happens When Someone Files a Complaint Against a CNP in New Mexico?

You'll receive notification if someone has filed a complaint against you to the Board. The process then involves the following steps:

  • Interview and information gathering: The Board will assign an investigator to the case. The investigator will interview you and the party who filed a complaint against you to learn more about the case. They'll also gather information from any other relevant sources. For example, the investigator may review personnel files and patient records. After gathering all the necessary information, the investigator will draft a report to present to the Board. Although every case is different, the investigation phase usually takes three to six months.
  • Review: The Board will review the information the investigator provides and make a determination about how to move forward. If the Board finds that no violation occurred or the violation was too minor to justify disciplinary action, it may decide to take no further action. The Board considers each case individually and decides to take disciplinary action when it concludes a legitimate violation of the Nursing Practice Act has occurred.

Before the Board reaches a decision, you have the right to participate in a hearing. A formal disciplinary hearing before the Board involves the following:

  • A prosecuting attorney from the New Mexico Attorney General's office will present the State's case against you.
  • You will have the opportunity to present your case to the Board. You can represent yourself, or you can hire a lawyer to represent you. Some CNPs hire other members of their profession to represent them during disciplinary hearings.
  • The Board will deliberate on the matter in an Executive Session after hearing both sides of the case. The Board will announce its decision in a public session after concluding the Executive Session. You will receive a copy of the Board's decision via certified mail.

Representing yourself during a disciplinary hearing may not be advisable. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can represent you during this process, applying our familiarity with these matters to help you present a strong argument to the Board.

What Types of Disciplinary Action May a Nurse Practitioner Be Subject to in New Mexico?

The Board can take several types of disciplinary action against a CNP it finds responsible for a violation. These include:

  • Denial of a license if a prospective CNP has yet to receive their license
  • Reprimand
  • Probation
  • License suspension
  • Summary suspension
  • License revocation

The Board may also impose conditions a CNP must abide by. Potential conditions include:

  • Fines and/or administrative costs
  • Supervision
  • Continuing education requirements
  • Drug screening
  • Counseling

That's not an exhaustive list. When disciplining a CNP for an alleged violation, the Board may impose any other conditions it deems appropriate.

What is the Diversion Program for Nurse Practitioners in New Mexico?

The Diversion Program is an alternative to formal disciplinary action that may be available to some New Mexico CNPs who've had complaints filed against them. The Diversion Program may be an option when a CNP has developed a chemical dependence on drugs or alcohol. It's a confidential and voluntary program that may be preferable to disciplinary action after someone makes a complaint against you.

You'll receive a packet with information about the Diversion Program if you request admission to it. The packet contains information about the requirements for admission to the program. You may not gain admission if you can't show you meet all the requirements.

The packet will also include a copy of the contract you must sign if you elect to participate in the Diversion Program. Review it carefully to ensure you thoroughly understand how participating in the Diversion Program could affect your life and career.

For example, you'll sign a five-year contract if you enroll in the program. This means you'll agree to be monitored by the Diversion Program for five years.

Understanding whether the Diversion Program is right for you can be challenging. If you have a lawyer on your side, they can explain your options and help you make a more informed decision. A member of our New Mexico Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm will gladly help you navigate these sometimes overwhelming matters.

New Mexico, the Nurse Licensure Compact, and Complaints: What You Need to Know

Most states in the U.S. participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact. New Mexico is one of them.

New Mexico's participation in the Nurse Licensure Compact has various implications for CRNs in the state. On the one hand, it means that a nurse with a license to practice in New Mexico doesn't need to obtain a new license to practice in another state participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact.

On the other hand, because New Mexico participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact, if the Board takes any action against you, it will submit information about said disciplinary action to the Compact's national database.

Potential employers from both participating and non-participating states may be able to access the information in the database. Thus, a potential employer could theoretically find out that the Board in New Mexico revoked or suspended your license.

None of this is meant to worry you. It's simply important that you understand the potential implications if the Board finds you committed a violation and decides to take disciplinary action. A suspension or revocation of your license in New Mexico could have significant consequences for your ability to secure employment elsewhere.

Protect yourself by mounting a defense when you learn someone's filed a complaint against you. Our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm can help you potentially guard against outcomes that may otherwise limit your employment prospects.

Appealing the Board's Decision

If the Board decides to take disciplinary action against you, you may submit a written request to the Board asking for your case to be reopened. The Board will vote on your request and submit its decision within 15 days of receiving your request. The administrative prosecuting attorney must have the opportunity to respond to the request before the Board issues a decision.

If the Board grants your request, it will schedule a formal hearing to take place during its next meeting. You'll receive notice of the hearing date via certified mail.

Requesting Reinstatement of a License or Certificate

You may request the Board reinstate your license or certificate if you've lost it due to suspension or revocation. Or, if the Board imposed a probationary period, you can request that the Board lift probation.

You must wait at least one year from the date of an order for revocation (unless the order states otherwise) to submit this type of request. When submitting a request, you must provide evidence indicating why you should get your license back. Evidence may consist of reports and testimony from those with an understanding of your case and any progress you've made.

Why You Need a New Mexico Nurse Practitioner License Defense Attorney

You've worked hard to become a CNP in New Mexico. You don't want all your hard work to be undone because someone made a complaint against you. Protecting yourself with assistance from legal professionals is key to minimizing the potential damage to your career and reputation.

Defending yourself alone can be very difficult if you're not familiar with these types of proceedings. At the Lento Law Firm, members of our Professional License Defense Team can review your case and help you guard against accusations every step of the way. Learn more by submitting our online contact form or calling us 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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