The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Protect Your Oklahoma CNA License If It's in Jeopardy
There are many professions in the medical field, but certified nurse aides (CNAs) have always been in demand throughout every field. A CNAs ability to seamlessly transition into healthcare roles at different facilities allows them to provide essential care to patients and long-term residents. Given their crucial role in patient care, these positions come with significant demands. Accordingly, Oklahoma places a strong emphasis on ensuring patients and their families are safeguarded from CNAs who may lack the necessary knowledge or behavior to deliver safe and effective care.
If a complaint is filed against a CNA in Oklahoma, whether from a patient, their family member, the hospital, or a staff member, the state takes it very seriously. They will endeavor to address the matter quickly. If you find yourself accused of violating any of Oklahoma's professional standards for CNAs, seeking the help of an experienced attorney is critical. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team knows the emotional and practical challenges accused CNAs will experience during these proceedings. They will diligently work to protect your license from harm. Call 888-535-3686 today for help.
Oklahoma State Department of Health License Proceedings
Like most states, CNA licenses in Oklahoma are governed by the Department of Health rather than the State Board of Nursing. So, if a CNA is accused of misconduct, it will be the Department of Health that oversees the disciplinary process. For instance, if a CNA is accused of neglecting a patient, the Department of Health will launch an investigation into the matter and determine if the incident falls under the scope of the department. If it does, and there is preliminary evidence to suggest that the CNA did neglect the patient, the Department of Health will initiate the hearing proceedings and notify all the parties involved.
The Department of Health is also in charge of figuring out what sanctions to impose on a CNA. Sanctions will include either a restriction, suspension, or revocation. It is important to note that even the slightest punishment can have a big impact on a CNA's future, especially their ability to continue working as a CNA and providing for their families. To prevent any type of negative consequence from affecting your life, you must reach out to an attorney with experience.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has spent years helping CNAs overcome false accusations of misconduct. They will help you locate the regulations that govern your license and subsequently build a solid defense to help you avoid having your life turned upside down.
Types of Nursing Licenses in Oklahoma
While there are several different kinds of nursing licenses in Oklahoma, including Licensed Professional Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, there are also certified nursing assistant licenses. To qualify for a CNA license, a person must complete the following requirements:
However, the CNA license still has very different requirements than the licensed nurses do, including at least 75 hours of education and training, as well as passing the CNA exam. In order to qualify to renew your license, you must have worked at least eight hours during the two-year timeframe your certificate was valid for. If you cannot prove that you worked those hours, or your license is more than two years expired, you will need to take – and pass – the CNA exam again to have your license reinstated.
Additionally, if you are sanctioned during the period your license was valid, you need to make sure the restriction or suspension placed on your license has been completed prior to renewing it. If not, the department will not allow you to renew until it has been completed. Further, there have been instances where a CNA is actively defending themselves during disciplinary action when their renewal date comes up. Some states may require you to be found not responsible for the accused misconduct before they will allow you to renew your license.
At the Lento Law Firm, the Professional License Defense Team believes this practice to be unfair and will work diligently to ensure you are not being punished by the state without having an actual decision first. In the U.S., you are supposed to be considered innocent until found guilty. This means it is the state's responsibility to prove that you are responsible for the alleged misconduct before they can impose a punishment. The Lento Law Firm Team will make sure to hold them to this requirement.
Nursing License Compact for Oklahoma Certified Nurse Aides
Being a nurse is incredibly rewarding, both financially and personally. However, many nurses find it hard to understand the regulations that govern their license, are unaware when complaints are made against them, and have difficulty traveling from state to state to practice. In response to these struggles, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) created the Nursing License Compact (NLC) in the early 2000s. This initial compact license evolved into the Enhanced Nursing License Compact (eNLC) in 2018.
Alas, there will always be critics, and several states have voiced their concerns that the eNLC will prevent them from getting the supplementary income that single-state license fees provide. They also believe it prevents them from initiating disciplinary proceedings against nurses. In response, the NCSBN created Nursys, an online database and notification system. This system notifies nurses when their license needs to be renewed and any grievances that are being made against them. Nursys also helps hospitals, employers, and individual states the ability to authenticate a nurse's credentials.
While the eNLC and Nursys offer a series of checks and balances for nurses, neither of them covers CNA licenses. In Oklahoma, it is up to the Department of Health to keep CNAs up to date on whether their licensing period is about to end, that there's a disciplinary action against them, or that the restrictions on their license have finally been completed. However, this tends to be a lot for the Department of Health to manage, and often, cases are not adjudicated properly. When this happens, the department is at fault for not providing you with the requisite due process rights you are entitled to.
To avoid these types of issues, it is important to contact the Lento Law Firm Team the moment you learn of the allegations. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will contact the department on your behalf and discuss the issue with them, hopefully mitigating the need for a disciplinary hearing.
Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Wherever You Are
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team are highly experienced attorneys with an exceptional ability to help CNAs navigate any complaints that arise against them. Some of the Oklahoma facilities they can help at include:
- St. Francis Hospital – Tulsa
- Ascension St. John Medical Center
- AllianceHealth Durant
- AllianceHealth Woodward
- Ascension St. John Broken Arrow Hospital
- Bailey Medical Center
- Cedar Ridge Hospital
- Chickasaw Nation Medical Center
- Children's Hospital at Saint Francis
- Choctaw Nation Health Care Center – Talihina
- Comanche County Memorial Hospital
- Community Hospital – Oklahoma City
- CORE Hospital for Orthopaedic Reconstruction
- Duncan Regional Hospital
- Great Plains Regional Medical Center
- Hillcrest Hospital South
- Integris Baptist Medical Center
- Integris Health Edmond
- Jefferson County Hospital – Waurika
- McBride Orthopedic Hospital
- Mercy Hospital Ada
- Norman Regional Hospital – Norman
- Oklahoma Children's Hospital OU Health
- Oklahoma Heart Hospital
- PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Tulsa
- SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Shawnee
- Tulsa Spine and Specialty Hospital
- Beacon Ridge
- Latimer Nursing Home
- Stroud Health Care Center South
- Whispering Oaks – Ardmore
- Baptist Village of Oklahoma City
- Grace Skilled and Nursing Therapy Norman
- Lexington Nursing Home
- River Oaks Skilled Nursing and Therapy
What Types of Allegations Can Put a Certified Nurse Aide License at Risk?
In Oklahoma, a CNA license can be restricted, suspended, or revoked if the CNA is found to have committed neglect, abuse, or exploitation of a patient or if the CNA is discovered to have stolen the patient or hospital's property. Other actions that could put a CNA's license at risk include:
- Discrimination while providing nursing care.
- Treating a patient using skills and techniques beyond the scope of their training and license.
- Violating HIPAA laws.
- Failing to maintain patient confidentiality.
- Allowing a patient to be neglected, abused, or treated poorly by another person.
- Neglecting or treating a patient poorly.
- Practicing nursing while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Not respecting the patient's right to privacy.
- Not reporting gross negligence.
- Misappropriating supplies, drugs, or other equipment without permission for personal use.
- Abandoning a patient or leaving an assignment without notifying their superiors.
- Physically, sexually, or mentally abusing a patient, their family members, or other facility staff.
When the Oklahoma State Department of Health is informed that a nurse may have committed one of the above actions, they will begin investigating immediately. They will also probably inform the CNA that they are no longer able to work while the matter is being adjudicated. If you have been kept from working because of a misconduct complaint, it can feel like the facility has turned its back on you. You are being punished without first being found responsible, which will impact your ability to care for yourself and your family and pursue your career. This can seriously impact anyone's mental and emotional well-being, forcing you into a negative headspace in a moment when being positive and fighting back is more important. If you are afraid this may happen to you, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team can help. They will reach out to the Department of Health in Oklahoma and negotiate to have your employment status remain unharmed. Call 888-535-3686 today for help.
Exemptions for Certified Nurse Aides in Oklahoma
Like most states in the U.S., Oklahoma has a Good Samaritan Act that protects individuals from getting in trouble after helping during an emergency. According to the Good Samaritan Act in Oklahoma, if a CNA attempts – or omits – to help someone in an emergency or at the scene of an accident, and the individual is hurt in the process, the CNA cannot be sued by them or their family or brought up on criminal charges.
For instance, if the CNA is driving by the scene of a car accident and pulls over to help. They cannot be charged with manslaughter if the elderly man who was injured in the accident and stopped breathing dies while the CNA is administering CPR. Nor can the CNA be sued if, while administering CPR to the elderly man, another driver gets distracted watching and rear-ends another car.
If the complaint against the CNA involves a scenario like the above or occurs during an emergency or at the scene of an accident, the Department of Health cannot pursue it. Sometimes though, they will continue to pursue it. If that happens, your attorney will attempt to correct the issue with the department prior to the hearing, but if they cannot, they will use this information to help appeal the department's decision.
What is the Disciplinary Process for Oklahoma Certified Nurse Aides?
For a CNA to be disciplined in Oklahoma, they must have committed an act that violated the state's professional standards. If they did not, they should not be punished. Sometimes though, CNAs are punished anyways, and it is up to their counsel to help them navigate the disciplinary hearings and appeals to the best of their abilities.
CNAs are supposed to remain in good standing with the Department of Health in Oklahoma the entire time their license is valid. Unfortunately, like many other states, Oklahoma does not publish the guidelines and regulations that CNAs in the state must follow to remain in good standing. Moreover, when these regulations are found, they are incredibly difficult to comprehend, which can make the situation even more frustrating. Luckily, the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has spent years helping CNAs and other medical professionals navigate disciplinary matters. We are confident the process will look similar to the one described below.
Once the Department of Health receives a complaint about a nurse, they will contact the complainant for more information. If, after this meeting, they determine there is enough cause to believe that the accused CNA should be disciplined, they will launch their investigation. During the investigation, the investigator will review the complaint, speak to both parties and seek out any relevant witnesses and testimony that would shed light on what actually happened.
At the end of the investigation, if the investigator believes there is enough to warrant a disciplinary hearing, they will recommend that to the Department of Health. The Department of Health will decide if they are going to heed this advice or let the complaint go. If they decide to pursue it, they will notify a set of individuals who are going to make up the hearing panel and schedule a time and date for the parties to arrive.
At the hearing, the department will allow the complainant to share the complaint and present evidence and witness testimony. Then it will be your turn to present your defense, relevant evidence, and witness testimony. As we've explained before, it is up to the department to prove the misconduct. That means it is up to you to present whatever information and evidence you have to both refute the department's claims and offer an alternative explanation. Your attorney will be able to help you comb through the information and figure out the best defense strategy for your particular case.
When both sides have had a chance to speak and cross-examine one other, the department will decide whether the CNA is responsible for a professional standard violation. They will also decide which sanction to impose. For instance, if the CNA works in a psychiatric facility and is found responsible for diverting meds from patients to themselves, they will probably be barred from working in psychiatry and could also be prevented from working without close supervision. And remember, whatever restriction or suspension you receive, it must be completed before you can renew your license.
Accusations like these are defamatory and can have seriously long-lasting consequences for a person's personal and professional life. To ensure that you are not being exposed to prejudicial sanctions, it is important to hire an attorney that will actively help you navigate the proceedings and preserve your future. Furthermore, once the department's decision is made, you have every right to appeal it. Many CNAs decide not to pursue the appeal because they are so burned out from the original defense. When this happens, the best thing you can do is have the Lento Law Firm prepare the appeal – and deliver it – for you. Appeals are your last attempt to prove you were not responsible. We can help.
Why You Need a Certified Nurse Aide License Defense Attorney in Oklahoma
The majority of complaints made against CNAs are done because of emotions like anger, boredom, or even misunderstanding. The Department of Health should be made aware of these motives as soon as possible to prevent any unnecessary hardships from befalling the accused CNA. Unfortunately, there are instances when the department may continue with the adjudication process, potentially imposing unwarranted penalties on CNAs without legitimate authority.
To protect your reputation, livelihood, and emotional well-being, it is important to enlist the services of an attorney. They will work diligently to protect your interests. Moreover, in situations where the department persists with the case despite a lack of evidence, your attorney can use this instance to build a strong civil case against the department in the future.
The Nature of Oklahoma State Department of Health Charges Against a Certified Nurse Aide
The decisions made by the Oklahoma State Department of Health regarding potential violations of professional standards by a CNA are entirely independent of any rulings in criminal trials or civil litigation that might result from the same allegation. These legal proceedings fall under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma state or federal court system, over which the Department of Health holds no authority.
That being said, if a complaint is lodged against a CNA, the Department of Health has the right to refer the allegation to state or federal law enforcement for further investigation. Should law enforcement officials suspect criminal activity based on the complaint, they may press charges against the CNA. These charges might lead to a review of the issue in front of a judge or jury to determine guilt and appropriate sanctions, like restitution, damages, probations, or imprisonment.
To prevent yourself from potentially losing your freedom, it is crucial you begin collaborating with an attorney immediately.
How Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help
Obtaining a CNA license in Oklahoma demands firm commitment and persistence. Despite this, accusations of misconduct can be overwhelming for most CNAs. To protect yourself, your dedication to your career, and your future, you must present a solid defense at every step of the disciplinary process.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is committed to conducting a vigorous investigation, collecting relevant evidence, and witness testimonies that will support your defense and ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Your future depends on the success of this case. Call our office at 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.