Attorney Joseph Lento Can Help if Your Nurse's License is in Jeopardy
Attorney Joseph D. Lento helps nurses whose professional licenses are threatened by allegations of misconduct. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 or use our online form today to schedule a consultation.
Read this important information if you have received notification that your nursing education has been fraudulent and is under investigation.
It's difficult enough to become a registered nurse; becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP) requires a much greater commitment. As a licensed Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania, you're meeting a critical need for physicians with strained caseloads by providing basic medical care to patients. Even so, a single allegation of misconduct could derail everything you've worked for to become a CRNP.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing holds its licensed CRNPs to exceptionally high ethical and professional standards. If the Board receives a complaint or allegation of misconduct against you, an investigation will be opened. During this process, the Board may take disciplinary action, including fines, suspension, or even revocation of your license. No more license, no more nursing career. It's that simple.
Facing an investigation can be disorienting and overwhelming, but hiring an experienced Pennsylvania license defense attorney can go a long way toward protecting your professional reputation and your career. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team help CRNPs and other professionals who are facing possible disciplinary action. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case.
What Accusations Can Put a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner's License at Risk?
The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing may take disciplinary action against a CRNP license over any alleged behavior that violates their policies, standards of care, or the public trust in general. These include, but are not limited to:
- Unprofessional conduct. This encompasses a broad number of actions, from inappropriate/rude behavior on the job to making unwanted sexual advances toward a colleague, patient, or superior, to engaging in an unethical romantic relationship with someone you're treating.
- Mishandling/misuse of drugs. Like physicians, CRNPs can write prescriptions for patients. Common examples of mishandling medications include writing prescriptions without physician authorization, writing prescriptions with no medical justification, keeping inaccurate inventories of medicines on hand, pilfering medications for personal use, etc.
- Patient abuse or neglect. If a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner mistreats a patient, doesn't provide them adequate care, or if there is any evidence of physical or verbal abuse, their license may be in jeopardy.
- Fraud. Examples include altering/falsifying patient diagnoses for insurance claims, "upcoding" procedures, billing for services not rendered, etc.
- Criminal convictions. A conviction for certain crimes may prevent you from being licensed as a CRNP. Additionally, not reporting a recent conviction to the appropriate licensing board can also lead to losing your license.
What Does the License Disciplinary Process Look Like in Pennsylvania?
The State of Pennsylvania has developed a streamlined uniform system for handling misconduct from any/all types of licensed professionals, including CRNPs. Any member of the public can file a complaint against a licensed professional with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). Complaints against CRNPs are typically made by patients, former patients, employers, coworkers/colleagues, insurance companies, etc. After the BPOA receives a complaint, the disciplinary process moves forward in a series of steps.
After the BPOA receives and evaluates a complaint, an investigator from the BEI will be assigned to look into it. The investigation might involve interviewing the complainant and any witnesses, requesting documents through subpoena, and asking for your written response to the complaint. If the evidence gathered is not enough to support the complaint, then the Board of Nursing will dismiss it. If there is, however, enough evidence to justify possible disciplinary action, then the case will continue advancing.
If the BEI investigator discovers sufficient evidence against you to warrant disciplinary action, the Board may offer to negotiate a consent agreement instead of having a formal hearing. A consent agreement is a binding document in which you agree to submit to the Board's recommended disciplinary action. This isn't always the best option, especially if your attorney can provide evidence to refute the complaint. But if disciplinary action is unavoidable, a consent agreement may be a viable resolution, especially if it includes a path to license reinstatement.
If you do not sign a consent agreement, or if one is not offered to you, you will have to attend a formal hearing where you will present your defense as to why your license should not be revoked. Your attorney can accompany you to this hearing and advocate on your behalf. Depending on the outcome of the hearing and its circumstances, the examiner will make recommendations to the Board of Nursing for possible disciplinary actions against your CRNP's license, which could be as minor as a reprimand or as severe as full license revocation.
Why Hire a Pennsylvania Nursing License Defense Attorney?
There is no presumption of innocence when it comes to allegations against your CRNP license. The Board of Nursing's priority is to protect the public, so they have extensive power to issue discipline against Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners that they think have disobeyed their standards of professionalism, ethics, or the trust of the people. They decide on disciplinary actions based on the preponderance of the evidence, meaning they only have to be convinced that you're more likely than not to have committed the offense. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage.
The benefit of hiring an experienced license defense attorney is that it levels the playing field for you during the disciplinary process. A good attorney can help you gather evidence that refutes the complaint, build an effective defense strategy, and negotiate with the Board on your behalf to have the complaint dismissed or to minimize the penalties involved.
To ensure the best possible outcome, it's essential to hire an attorney with specific license defense experience, someone who understands Pennsylvania's disciplinary processes and knows how to work the system to your best advantage. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the knowledge and experience needed to protect your rights and your interests. If you're a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner in PA who is accused of wrongdoing, you have too much at stake to go it alone. Let Attorney Lento and his team work to get you a more favorable resolution. Call today at (888) 535-3686 to schedule a consultation.