The Lento Law Firm Defends Washington CNA Registration
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), or nursing assistants certified (NACs), and nursing assistants registered (NARs), as Washington also calls them, have many great places to practice in the state's vibrant cities, with Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Vancouver largest among them. Washington's gorgeous natural environment adds to the draw. Sophisticated hospital systems, with Swedish Medical Centre, Providence Sacred Heart, Providence Regional, and the University of Washington Medical Centre, the largest among them, offer abundant CNA employment opportunities. Large agencies like Fedelta Home Care, Right at Home Seattle, and Group Health Home offer alternative CNA employment outside the hospital.
Yet practicing as a CNA, NAC, or NAR in Washington requires that you enter your name in the state's Nurse Aide Registry after completing all training, experience, and examination requirements. And once you earn your CNA certification, you must maintain that credential against license disciplinary charges. Your personal or professional misconduct can lead to investigation and discipline, resulting in the revocation of your certification and loss of your CNA employment.
When facing Washington CNA disciplinary charges, your best move is to retain the Lento Law Firm's premier Professional License Defense Team to defend your certification. Our attorneys are available whether you work in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Everett, Olympia, or any other Washington location. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now for skilled and experienced attorney representation defending your Washington CNA license against personal or professional misconduct charges.
Washington Nurse Aide Registry Certification
Washington certifies nursing assistants through its State Department of Health with regulatory support from the state's Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. Washington Code Chapter 18.88A sets forth the statutory scheme that those agencies use for your CNA registration, while Washington Administrative Code Chapter 246-841 adds administrative rules governing CNAs. In Washington Code Section 18.88A.010, Washington's legislature declared the need to expand the availability of competent nursing services within the state by certifying nurse assistants. Washington Code Section 18.88A.040 accordingly declares that “[n]o person may practice or represent himself or herself as a nursing assistant-registered by use of any title or description without being registered by the department pursuant to this chapter.” You must obtain and retain certification, or you will not practice as a nursing assistant in Washington. Take Washington CNA disciplinary charges seriously.
Washington CNA Regulatory Authority
Washington's State Department of Health, Board of Nursing, and Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission have the statutory authority not only to register CNAs but also to regulate their practice. Your Washington CNA practice is in a heavily regulated professional environment. Washington Administrative Code Rule 246-841-400 sets forth dozens of “standards of practice and competencies for nursing assistants.” Those standards address technical skills, personal care skills, mental health, and social service needs, care of impaired residents, restorative services, client rights, interpersonal skills, communication skills, infection control, and emergency procedures. Washington nursing officials expect you to meet their standards to retain your CNA registration.
Washington CNA Disciplinary Authority
Washington's State Department of Health, Board of Nursing, and Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission have the statutory authority not only to register and regulate CNAs but also to discipline them for violating CNA standards. Washington Code Section 18.88A.150 provides that the state's Uniform Disciplinary Act governs the discipline of certified nursing assistants. Washington Code Chapter 18.130 sets the state's Uniform Disciplinary Act. Washington Code Section 18.130.057 authorizes the disciplinary authority to accept, investigate, and act on complaints of unprofessional conduct. Although Washington's Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission disciplines LPNs, RNs, and advanced practice nurses, the Commission refers CNA disciplinary matters to the State Department of Health, which maintains a Health Systems Quality Assurance Division to act on those complaints. Retain our Professional License Defense Team the moment you learn of a complaint against your CNA registration.
Washington CNA Disciplinary Sanctions
Section 18.130.160 of Washington's Uniform Disciplinary Act sets forth these sanctions or penalties that the Health Systems Quality Assurance Division may impose against your CNA registration after serving you with a notice of investigation and following the Uniform Disciplinary Act's other procedures:
- Revocation of the license;
- Suspension of the license for a fixed or indefinite term;
- Restriction or limitation of the practice;
- Requiring the satisfactory completion of a specific program of remedial education or treatment;
- The monitoring of the practice by a supervisor approved by the disciplining authority;
- Censure or reprimand;
- Compliance with conditions of probation for a designated period of time;
- Payment of a fine for each violation of this chapter, not to exceed five thousand dollars per violation….;
- Denial of the license request;
- Corrective action;
- Refund of fees billed to and collected from the consumer;
- A surrender of the practitioner's license in lieu of other sanctions, which must be reported to the federal data bank.
License suspension or revocation generally means an immediate loss of your CNA employment. They could also mean permanent loss of your ability to regain CNA employment. Your stakes are thus high when facing any Washington CNA disciplinary charges. But notice the broad discretion that disciplinary officials have to impose lesser sanctions in lieu of license suspension or revocation. That discretion can give our attorneys the opportunity to advocate on your behalf for an outcome that will preserve your CNA license and employment. Don't give up when facing disciplinary charges. With our help, you may have a favorable outcome.
Grounds for Washington CNA Discipline
Washington Code Section 18.130.180, a part of the state's Uniform Disciplinary Act, lists the following grounds for disciplining CNAs and other healthcare workers. Section 18.130.180 calls all of these grounds “unprofessional conduct,” implicating the above sanctions. Your notice of disciplinary charges from the Health Systems Quality Assurance Division should specify one or more of these grounds. As you consider whether your disciplinary charges meet one or more of these grounds, also consider the following discussion of how our attorneys may be able to help you respond to these charges.
Immoral, Dishonest, and Corrupt Acts as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's first grounds on which to discipline a CNA or other health professional is “any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption relating to the practice of the person's profession, whether the act constitutes a crime or not.” While Section 18.130.180 does not require a criminal conviction to discipline for immoral, dishonest, or corrupt acts, the section treats conviction as “conclusive evidence” of the CNA's responsibility for the alleged acts. Immoral, dishonest, or corrupt acts may include such things as lewdness or indecency, theft or other misappropriation of a resident's property, coercion or other undue influence over a resident, and other intentional wrongs beyond the bounds of decency. If you face such charges, our attorneys may be able to help you show that you did not commit the alleged wrongs, that the complaining resident suffers from dementia or other delusion or memory problems, or that others committed the alleged wrongs. We may also be able to help you show that you have corrected and remediated any wrong in a way that protects residents and the public.
Credentials Fraud as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact in obtaining a license or in reinstatement thereof.” Fraud in obtaining a license could include misrepresenting your training program or work experience, cheating on the competency exam such as having someone else take it for you, or concealing criminal conviction or CNA discipline in another state. If you face false credentials charges, our attorneys may be able to help you prove your representations accurate by obtaining records of your coursework, work hours, and other supporting documentation.
Deceptive Advertising as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “advertising which is false, fraudulent, or misleading.” Section 18.130.180 also prohibits “misrepresentation or fraud in any aspect of the conduct of the business or profession.” While CNAs may not often directly advertise their services, an individual CNA might misrepresent their credentials to patients, residents, facilities, or even their employers as if they were an LPN or RN or had medication or other privileges that they did not in fact, hold. If you face such charges, our attorneys may be able to help you show that you did not misrepresent your credentials and that the complainant is mistaken or that no harm resulted from any misstatement.
Incompetence as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “incompetence, negligence, or malpractice which results in injury to a patient or which creates an unreasonable risk that a patient may be harmed.” Section 18.130.180 goes on to excuse “nontraditional treatment” that does not injure or present an unreasonable risk to a patient. Examples of incompetence could include lifting a patient in an unconventional manner that injures the patient, bathing or cleaning a patient with the wrong substances resulting in irritations or burns, disregarding infection control measures resulting in worsening infection, and failing to follow clear orders for bed restraint or other protective measures resulting in a patient's fall. If you face such charges, our attorneys may be able to show that you did not commit the alleged wrong, that someone else did so, that you followed reasonable instructions from your supervisor, or that no harm resulted from any departure from customary CNA practice. We may also be able to show mitigating circumstances like an unreasonable patient load, lack of proper equipment and supplies, and inadequate supervision and support.
Illegal Drug Possession as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “possession, use, prescription for use, or distribution of controlled substances or legend drugs in any way other than for legitimate or therapeutic purposes, diversion of controlled substances or legend drugs, the violation of any drug law, or prescribing controlled substances for oneself.” If you face such charges, our attorneys may be able to show that you did not remove, possess, use, or prescribe drugs, that others did so instead, or that you were following reasonable instructions of your supervisor. We may be able to show that others, in addition to you, had access to the missing drugs or that the complainant made mistaken and unreliable observations.
Failure to Cooperate as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline involves “failure to cooperate with the disciplining authority” by any number of means, such as failing to timely respond to requests for answers, information, or records, refusing to give access for facility or record review, or failing to follow other disciplinary orders. You must cooperate with disciplinary officials. Our attorneys can help you ensure that you respect the disciplinary process and do not create problems for yourself where none existed. The cover-up, as they say, can be worse than the crime.
Unauthorized Practice as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “aiding or abetting an unlicensed person to practice when a license is required.” Section 18.130.180 also authorizes discipline for “practice beyond the scope of practice as defined by law or rule” and for violating other agency practice rules. Disciplinary officials can be especially sensitive to evidence of unlicensed and unauthorized CNA practice. After all, licensure is their main concern. Our attorneys may be able to help you show that you had no supervisory or other responsibility for others who practiced without a license and that you kept your own practice within the bounds established for a CNA. We may also be able to help you show that your supervisor instructed you to practice in ways that you reasonably believed were lawful.
Infectious Practice as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “engaging in a profession involving contact with the public while suffering from a contagious or infectious disease involving serious risk to public health.” If you face such charges, our attorneys may be able to help you show that you did not carry the alleged disease, that you did not expose others in the course of your CNA practice, or that your exposure did not cause others any harm. Tracing infections can be difficult, given their many possible sources. We may be able to help protect you against unreasonable claims that you were the source of another's infection.
Criminal Conviction as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline involve “conviction of any gross misdemeanor or felony relating to the practice of the person's profession.” Washington Administrative Code Chapter 388-113 details the disqualifying criminal convictions. The criminal convictions do not necessarily have to involve the CNA's workplace conduct. They need only implicate the CNA's poor character for safe, professional practice. Disqualifying convictions could thus include assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault, domestic violence, or other violent crimes that make the CNA a threat to patient safety. Disqualifying convictions could also include arson, robbery, theft, criminal trespass, and other property crimes, or criminal fraud, extortion, embezzlement, and other financial crimes. If you face disciplinary charges alleging your conviction of a disqualifying crime, our attorneys may be able to show that you did not suffer such a conviction or that you qualify for one of Chapter 388-113's several waivers and exemptions from disqualification.
Confidentiality Breach as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “the willful betrayal of a practitioner-patient privilege as recognized by law.” Confidentiality breaches can occur when a CNA shares private patient or resident information with the resident's friends and even family members who have no need or right to know. Social media disclosures of private information can also lead to disciplinary charges. If you face such charges, our attorneys may be able to show that you did not share privileged information, that any information you shared was not confidential, or that you shared confidential information only with those who had a need to know for your resident's protection.
Substance Abuse as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's next grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “current misuse of: (a) alcohol; (b) controlled substances; or (c) legend drugs.” Substance abuse and addiction can be a significant problem for nurses generally and CNAs specifically, given the demands of the job and access to prescription medication. The Washington State Department of Health thus maintains the Washington Recovery and Monitoring Program offering CNAs and other healthcare professionals a chance to seek addiction recovery services in place of facing discipline. But to qualify for the program, you must generally self-report your substance abuse issue and show disciplinary officials that you do not deserve discipline for any professional misconduct. Disciplinary officials may also try to get you to sign an agreement to relinquish your CNA certification to enter the program or to meet other terms and conditions that you might not meet. Our attorneys may be able to help you either defend and defeat the substance abuse charge or negotiate recovery program terms that preserve your CNA license.
Abuse as Grounds for CNA Discipline
Section 18.130.180's last grounds for CNA or other healthcare worker discipline is “abuse of a client or patient or sexual contact with a client or patient. Patient abuse could involve striking, biting, shoving, or otherwise intentionally physically injuring a patient, or yelling at, scolding, berating, and otherwise mentally distressing a patient. Some officials may also construe severe neglect as constituting abuse. Abuse is obviously a very serious allegation, even more serious when involving sexual contact. Our attorneys may be able to help you show that you committed no abuse, that others were instead responsible, that the complaining witness is unreliable, or that you were attempting to restrain and protect the patient rather than abuse the patient.
Washington CNA Disciplinary Procedures
Washington's Uniform Disciplinary Act, codified in Washington Code Chapter 18.130, includes not only the sanctions and grounds but also the procedures officials must follow when issuing, investigating, and deciding disciplinary charges. When properly invoked, procedures can be your way of ensuring that you get to tell your side of the story and that you obtain your most favorable outcome. But you need the skilled and experienced representation of our Professional License Defense Team for your most strategic and effective defense under those rules. Chapter 18.130 requires disciplinary officials to issue a statement of your charges so that you can request a formal hearing. The procedures also require that officials disclose their evidence and offer you a settlement conference before the hearing. We can help you prepare and present your best evidence and make your best arguments for relief from the disciplinary charges at settlement conferences and hearings. Our attorneys can exercise your right to cross-examine adverse witnesses and can also help you take Chapter 18.130's authorized appeal from any discipline.
Nationwide Stakes of Washington CNA Discipline
Washington recognized CNA reciprocity, meaning that you can take your Washington CNA certification into any other state recognizing reciprocity for an endorsement in that state without having to requalify. But if you suffer CNA discipline in Washington, you lose those reciprocity rights. In short, you may not be able to practice in any other state if you lose your Washington CNA license.
Premier Washington Nursing Assistant Certification Defense
The Lento Law Firm's skilled and experienced attorneys on its premier Professional License Defense Team are available in Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Everett, Olympia, and any other Washington location to defend your CNA certification against disciplinary charges. Hundreds of professionals nationwide have trusted the Lento Law Firm for the best possible outcome to disciplinary charges. Call 888.535.3686 or chat with us now.