The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Protect Your Utah CNA License From Risk
Of all the professions in the medical field, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are constantly in demand. This is probably because of the flexibility of their education. Unlike other medical professions, CNAs can swiftly move from one field to the next without having to go through years of additional education. Moreover, CNAs provide an indispensable task of caring for the elderly and long-term residents of other care facilities. As such, Utah is committed to ensuring CNAs keep the safety and well-being of their patients in mind while practicing. To do this, they have created strict professional standards that all CNAs must abide by. If they don't, they will be disciplined immediately.
Contacting a skilled defense attorney is the first step to avoiding sanctions. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team knows how difficult these accusations can be on your personal life and professional experience. Call 888-535-3686 today for help.
Utah State Department of Health License Proceedings
In Utah, CNAs are overseen by the Utah Nursing Assistant Registry (UNAR). When a CNA is accused of misconduct, the UNAR will be responsible for vetting the complaint and, if necessary, scheduling a hearing on the matter. The UNAR is also tasked with figuring out what sanctions to inflict on a CNA that is found responsible for any alleged misconduct. In Utah, sanctions can include anything from having a restriction placed on your CNA license, having the license suspended, or having it outright revoked.
Whatever the UNAR's decision, it will have disastrous consequences for your entire life, including preventing you from working in your career of choice, inhibiting you from providing for yourself and your family, and negatively affecting both your physical and mental health. The only way to prevent these penalties from coming to fruition is to build a solid defense. Unfortunately, many CNAs believe they can show up to the interviews or hearing without preparing first. When this happens, CNAs are usually not successful in defending themselves.
While preparing a defense is half the battle, don't worry if you feel out of your depths. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will ensure your defense is carefully constructed and that you are fully prepared to undergo questioning, guaranteeing you the best possible outcome for your case.
Types of Nursing Licenses in Utah
There are several types of nursing licenses in Utah. The more common include those for Licensed Professional Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. CNA licenses are separate from traditional nursing licenses, which we've explained above.
To work in Utah as a CNA, the individual must either have:
- Completed a Utah-approved 100-hour CNA program and passed the state knowledge and skills exam.
- A current and valid CNA license in another state and had your reciprocity application approved.
CNA licenses must be renewed every two years. You must complete at least 200 paid hours of working as a CNA in order to be eligible to renew your license. The renewal notice must be signed by the licensed nurse you have been working under or an authorized Human Resources representative. If you fail to renew on time, you could be ordered to pay some late fees before being able to continue with the renewal process.
Now, if your CNA license has been restricted or suspended and is now set to expire, you will likely be prevented from renewing the license until the restriction or suspension is completed. If this happens and your license expires while you are trying to complete the punishment you were given, you cannot continue to work as a CNA in the meantime, or you will be referred for additional disciplinary charges for working without a valid license. Even more frustrating is that if you license is set to expire while you are undergoing a disciplinary charge interview and hearing, you may not be allowed to renew it until the matter has been resolved.
Unfortunately, all this does is deprive a CNA of the ability to work. Which, in the U.S. individuals are assumed innocent until proven guilty. By barring you from working as a CNA, UNAR is effectively robbing you of this assumption. The Lento Law Firm will make sure to not only hold UNAR accountable for this misdeed but will also leverage it in a civil suit if one is required later on.
Nursing License Compact for Utah Certified Nurse Aides
Utah belongs to the Enhanced Nursing License Compact (eNLC), which was created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in 2018 to help nurses know which rules applied to them and their license, as what the regulations looked like in other states. It is actually the second iteration of the Nursing License Compact, which really began in the early 2000s. As of today, over 40 states and U.S. territories belong to the eNLC.
Of the states and territories that refuse to join or have been unable to pass the legislation, the nay-sayers cite a loss of income as their main grievance. They believe that without single-state nursing licenses, the state will miss out on a large portion of revenue. They also believe that they will not be able to implement or follow disciplinary procedures against nurses in their state with this new compact.
After hearing from these states and their stance on the matter, the NCSBN created Nursys, an online database that notifies nurses when their license needs to be renewed and any complaints that might have been made against them. Furthermore, the nurses, their employers, and the state all have access to the system, making it easier than ever to validate a license and ensure any necessary disciplinary matters are being pursued.
However, while the eNLC and Nursys provide help to nurses, neither of them protects CNA licenses. Instead, the UNAR is responsible for licensing new CNAs, renewing current licenses, and implementing disciplinary procedures against them. Often, this is a lot of responsibility for a state agency, especially as it is on top of their other lengthy list of responsibilities. As such, it can be hard for them to ensure they are always providing CNAs with the due process they deserve. When CNAs are not afforded due process, procedural errors abound, causing conflicts in both their personal and professional lives.
It is important to contact an attorney when you first learn about the complaint against you so that you can avoid being held liable for something you didn't do. The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team will contact UNAR on your behalf, hopefully negating the negative ramifications of these proceedings before they start.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help Wherever You Are
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team understands how scary these proceedings can be, especially if it means being able to continue working in the state you call home. That being said, they can help in any type of medical facility, including facilities such as:
- Intermountain Medical Center
- University of Utah Hospital
- Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital
- Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital
- Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital
- Ashley Regional Medical Center
- Blue Mountain Hospital – Blanding
- Cache Valley Hospital
- Castleview Hospital
- Central Valley Medical Center
- Davis Hospital and Medical Center
- Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Utah
- Garfield Memorial Hospital
- Gunnison Valley Hospital – Utah
- Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital – University of Utah
- Jordan Valley Medical Center
- Lone Peak Hospital
- Moab Regional Hospital
- Mountain View Hospital – Payson
- Ogden Regional Medical Center
- Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital
- Salt Lake Behavioral Health – Salt Lake City
- Timpanogos Regional Hospital
- Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Health Care System
- Advanced Health Care of Salem
- Aspen Ridge of Utah Valley
- Aspen Ridge Transitional Rehabilitation
- City Creek Post-Acute – Salt Lake City
- Harrison Pointe Healthcare and Rehabilitation
- Legacy Village Rehabilitation
- Life Care Center of Salt Lake City
- NeuroRestorative Riverton
What Types of Allegations Can Put a Certified Nurse Aide License at Risk?
In Utah, a CNA can be punished if UNAR discovers that the CNA committed one of the acts below:
- Using the title of an LPN, RN, NP, RNP, or APRN without the license or certification to back it up.
- Using any other name or title that would make a reasonable person think the CNA is licensed or certified when they are, in fact, not.
- Failing to protect a patient's right to privacy.
- Failing to provide nursing services in a way that respects a patient's dignity and character without regard to their race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, sex, or nature of their health problem.
- Engaging in sexual relations with a patient.
- Exploiting a patient or using their information.
- Illegally taking, using, or keeping any prescription drugs or illicit drugs.
- Taking or using nursing supplies without permission.
- Taking or using a patient's personal property without permission.
- Helping someone who is unqualified or unlicensed get and remain in employment as a CNA or nurse.
- Breaching contracts or confidentiality agreements.
- Diverting and dispensing pharmaceuticals without authorization.
- Performing or inducing an abortion.
- Falsely altering a medical record with the intent to conceal something.
- Physically, emotionally, mentally, or sexually abusing a patient, their family, or other staff members.
If UNAR becomes aware that a CNA might have committed one of these actions, it will launch an investigation immediately and probably move to have the CNA barred from returning to work until the investigation is over.
You have worked so hard to get to where you are today. Your CNA license is your livelihood. When you are accused and punished prior to having the dispute heard fully, UNAR is in direct violation of your rights and adversely affects your emotional well-being and mental health. To ensure you do not suffer like this, the Lento Law Firm will reach out to your supervisors to try and negotiate for you to stay on while the matter is being resolved. They will also work quickly and efficiently to try and refute any preliminary evidence UNAR might use against you. The faster they can find relevant witness testimony and evidence, the faster they can help you. Call 888-535-3686 today for help.
Exemptions for Certified Nurse Aides in Utah
In Utah, individuals have the authority to engage in the practice of nursing without a license if they are:
- Taking care of friends, family members, or legal guardians of a patient they are caring for.
- Providing care in a medical emergency.
- Providing care while engaged in the practice of their religion.
Additionally, Utah has a Good Samaritan Law, which states that if a CNA is at the scene of an emergency and tries to help the victims, they cannot be sued if the victims are injured or otherwise hurt because of your help. This law only comes into play when the CNA is acting in good faith, not offering assistance that is grossly negligent or doing so maliciously or with ill intent.
As such, if a CNA is charged with voluntary manslaughter after giving CPR to a non-responsive, non-breathing child in an overturned vehicle at the scene of an accident who subsequently dies, it should be dropped because they were helping in good faith. Your attorney will review the incident and the available exemptions to find the one that matches your case. They will then notify the UNAR of the exemption and work to mitigate the case prior to the disciplinary hearing. Saving both you and the UNAR a lot of time and resources.
What Is the Disciplinary Process for Utah Certified Nurse Aides?
In general, disciplinary hearings for CNAs tend to follow the same outline, and since the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team has aided CNAs all over the country, we are confident in the explanation below.
When someone complains about a CNA, the complaint is sent to UNAR. UNAR will review it and reach out to the complainant to get more details. If they think that the complaint falls under the scope of their agency, they will launch an investigation. The investigator will reach out to all parties and witnesses involved to set up meetings. They will most likely reach out to you first to get you to respond to the complaint. It is crucial that you are prepared by an attorney to undergo this questioning. There are many things the investigator might ask you which are not relevant and should not be brought up during this interview.
If the investigator believes there is enough to support a disciplinary hearing, they will notify UNAR of their decision. UNAR will then reach out to the parties and notify them of a time and date for the hearing. At the hearing, both sides will have equal opportunity to present evidence and witness testimony to support their arguments. They will also have the chance to cross-examine one another. When the hearing is over, the panel overseeing it will review what they have learned and determine if the accused CNA is responsible. If they determine that the CNA is responsible, they will also decide what type of sanction to impose on them. Generally, these punishments will include either a restriction on the license, suspending it, or having it revoked. When a license is suspended or restricted, it is for a specific period of time, but when it is revoked, it is forever.
Additionally, license restrictions can vary, but they are supposed to fit the severity of the misconduct. For instance, if the CNA works in a psychiatric ward, the restriction could prevent them from working overnight, require them to be closely supervised, or bar them from working in that type of environment at all. Other examples of CNA license restrictions include taking randomized drug tests, using a breathalyzer before work, and being prohibited from accessing the facility's narcotics stores.
All decisions made by UNAR can be appealed. However, if the idea of appealing after going through an unsuccessful disciplinary proceeding feels overwhelming, we can help. Appeals are your last chance to prove that you are innocent; as such, you must ensure you prepare for them carefully. Your attorney will explain how to file the appeal, what to include in it, and how best to present it. Moreover, they will continue to speak to UNAR on your behalf, hopefully getting the sanctions against you overturned.
Why You Need a Certified Nurse Aide License Defense Attorney in Utah
It is important to see that you are not alone in this process. Hiring an attorney gives you an ally who is always in your corner.
Sadly, many complaints against CNAs are made out of spite, anger, or sometimes even boredom. This takes resources and time away from valid complaints. And, even when there is no credible evidence to suggest this misconduct actually happened, some agencies continue to pursue the matter, making the accused CNA suffer unnecessarily. The only way to truly combat this abuse of power is to have your attorney call it out.
The Lento Law Firm has spent years helping CNAs all over the country navigate these proceedings. He will notify the UNAR of any procedural irregularities, including bias, and push for them to be corrected. If the UNAR refuses, The Lento Law Firm Team will leverage this information to use in a future civil case against UNAR.
The Nature of Utah Nursing Registry Charges Against a Certified Nurse Aide
When the UNAR finds a CNA responsible for misconduct and imposes a sanction, this decision is based solely on their authority. Meaning it is not considered a criminal charge or civil suit. Those types of proceedings are conducted by the state or federal court system and presided over by judges in Utah.
However, if a complaint is made that the UNAR believes violates state or federal law, they have every right to refer the complaint to law enforcement. Law enforcement can then review the complaint and decide if the CNA should be criminally charged. When criminal charges are issued, it could also result in sanctions, like restitution, probation, or incarceration. These sanctions would be in addition to whatever the UNAR administers in their own hearing.
For example, when a CNA is caught impersonating a nurse and providing care as if they had they were properly licensed or certified as a nurse, they could also be found guilty of a third-degree felony. This degree of felony would carry up to a $5,000 fine and/or five years in prison. This is just another reason why it is so important to familiarize yourself with the regulations your CNA license is beholden to.
To avoid losing both your livelihood and your physical freedom, it is important you contact an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases. Only they will be able to help prepare you for your UNAR hearing but also help you navigate the criminal justice system, if necessary.
How Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team Can Help
It takes a lot of drive and determination to get a CNA license in Utah, and any allegations of misconduct can derail all the progress you have made. To protect yourself, your reputation, and your career, you must work with an attorney to produce a solid defense. It is the only way to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
The Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team is committed to helping CNAs accused of misconduct and protecting their license from harm. Do not try to pursue this alone. Your livelihood depends on it. Call our office at 888-535-3686 today or schedule a consultation online.