As a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) in New York, you play a vital role in the state's healthcare system by helping patients with basic healthcare needs and maintenance. To take on this role, you had to invest a great deal into your education and training, going beyond the already-strenuous training of becoming a registered nurse (RN) and obtaining licensure from the New York Office of the Professions (OP).
Unfortunately, even with your best efforts and dedication, you may still find yourself facing disciplinary action from the OP related to allegations of professional misconduct or other violations. Such actions can have serious consequences, including suspension or revocation of your license. It may take only a single complaint, whether from a disgruntled patient or a jealous coworker, to put everything you've worked for into jeopardy.
If you're a New York CRNP whose license is under investigation, your best hope for a favorable resolution is to get help from an experienced New York license defense attorney--someone who can provide the knowledgeable legal representation you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the necessary experience to help CRNPs and other licensed professionals in New York who are facing potential disciplinary action, and he and his team have a long track record of success. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case and your options.
What Types of Allegations Can Endanger My License to Practice in New York?
The Office of the Professions requires licensed CRNPs to maintain high standards of ethical and professional excellence. Most allegations that could lead to losing your license are a result of violating these standards or breaching public trust. Some of the most common complaints include:
- Unprofessional conduct. This category includes a multitude of offenses, like acting inappropriately on the job or having an unethical sexual/romantic relationship with a coworker, patient, or superior.
- Fraud. Examples include billing insurance companies for services not rendered, falsifying medical records, "upcoding" procedures on insurance claims, etc.
- Patient abuse or neglect. You could lose your CRNP license over allegations that you physically, mentally, or verbally mistreated a patient or failed to provide timely or adequate treatment for them.
- Mishandling prescription medications. CRNPs are entrusted with prescription-writing privileges just as physicians are. Breaking this trust with such behaviors as falsifying medication inventories, diverting medications intended for patients for personal use, or writing prescriptions without medical justification could all be grounds for losing your license.
- Criminal convictions. If you are convicted of a crime, especially one of moral turpitude, it could put your CRNP license in danger.
An Overview of New York's License Discipline Process
The New York Office of the Professions (OP) regulates almost all licensed professionals in the state (with the exception of physicians, who are overseen by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct). The state has streamlined the process by which any member of the public may lodge a formal complaint against a licensed professional, including CRNPs, by letting them file a complaint online directly with the OP. Complaints filed against Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners typically come from patients, fellow employees, other practitioners in the field, and occasionally insurance companies. The standard disciplinary process usually follows these stages once the OP receives a complaint.
The OP starts by investigating the complaint to determine if there is enough proof to back it up. The investigation typically includes talking with the person who filed the complaint (and anybody else who might have knowledge of the alleged incident), reading through documents, and completing other research. If the investigation doesn't discover enough evidence to support the complaint, then the OP will end their inquiry. If they do find corroborating evidence, they will pass on information about the case to be considered by New York State's Board of Regents.
If the Board has enough evidence to make disciplinary action likely, they may offer to have you sign a consent order instead of setting up a formal hearing. A consent order is an agreement in which you agree to submit to the Board's recommended disciplinary actions. While a consent order isn't the best fit for everyone, it can be a viable option if the evidence against you is compelling, especially if it includes conditions for reinstating your license.
If the investigation suggests you committed wrongdoing and no consent order has been signed after, the Board of Regents will meet to review the complaint and decide if disciplinary action is necessary. You may be summoned to attend a hearing and show cause why your license should not be revoked. If this occurs, you may be represented by an attorney at the hearing. The Board will then make a determination as to whether they believe you committed wrongdoing, and if so, what the disciplinary action should be (up to and including revoking your CRNP license).
How a New York Nursing License Defense Attorney Can Help
When a complaint is filed against your CRNP's license, you're automatically at a disadvantage because there is no guaranteed presumption of innocence. The NYS Office of the Professions has a responsibility to protect the public first and foremost, and they can decide the fate of your career based only on a preponderance of the evidence (in other words, they don't have to prove conclusively that you committed misconduct--only that you likely did so). The best way to overcome this disadvantage and improve your chances of keeping your license is by hiring an experienced New York license defense attorney to represent your interests.
Your attorney will be able to provide clear perspective on your case and help you take the best course of action. They can review all relevant evidence, draft legal documents on your behalf, ensure you're treated fairly, and negotiate directly with the OP and the Board on your behalf, whether to get the complaint dropped or to minimize the penalties.
Whether the complaint against you stems from a simple misunderstanding or a lapse in judgment, the consequences of disciplinary action against you can be far-reaching and severe. If you are a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner facing Board action in New York, don't risk your future by going it alone. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can greatly improve your chances of keeping your license and your career. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.