If you are one of the CRNAs practicing in more than 60 hospitals, surgical centers, and other medical facilities across Wisconsin, you know you are among the state's most prestigious healthcare workers. Whether you provide pain management services in an urban setting like Milwaukee, Madison, or Green Bay (including caring for veterans in the Veterans Health Administration system) or enable hospitals in rural and medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, and trauma stabilization services, your capabilities are highly sought after and respected – and for good reason.
Unlike in many other states, CRNAs in the Badger State are entrusted to practice without the supervision of a physician, a reflection of the high expectations placed on you and your capabilities and the reputation you've earned. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, actions taken by Governor Tony Evers allowed you to serve on the front lines, independent of physician collaboration, so you could care for critically ill patients desperately in need of help, a calling you heeded without hesitation.
Your skillset is venerated, and the hard work you've done to earn it is priceless. There's something special about the path you've chosen, and protecting your career with the same tenacity you've demonstrated to get here is important should you ever be the subject of an investigation into conduct putting your license at risk.
Protecting a CRNA Education That is Second to None
Not many states have such rigorous, forward-looking requirements for its CRNAs as Wisconsin does, with its mandate that all CRNA programs be at a doctoral level starting in 2023, including those at UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, and Marquette. Whether you have earned your doctorate or are an expert clinician practicing under an equally esteemed advanced degree in nursing, the investment of hours, energy, and tuition you've put into your profession and your CRNA license is worth protecting at all costs.
Through it all, you've stayed current on certifications in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team works with Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), and Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) with a Nurse Anesthesia Emphasis nationwide and seeks to help license-holders and agencies work together to resolve cases in which there are allegations of misconduct. If your license is at risk, call us today at 888-535-3686 or submit your details online, and we will reach out.
We Serve CRNAs From Many Wisconsin Universities and Medical Centers
With a world-class education on your resume, whether you precepted at Froedtert Hospital's Level I Trauma Center, the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, or another premier Wisconsin clinical site, you know you've learned among the best and brightest in the country, and that your experience is worth defending if it is ever in jeopardy.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team is here to represent CRNA license holders throughout Wisconsin, including those working in sites such as:
- Aurora St. Luke's
- Froedtert Health
- Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital
- UW Health University Hospital
- UnityPoint Health-Meriter
- St. Elizabeth Medical Center
- SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital
- St. Vincent Medical Center
- Waupun Memorial Hospital
- Mercy Medical Center
- Aurora Oshkosh Hospital
- Waukesha Memorial Hospital
- Bellin Medical Center
- Marshfield Medical Center
- St. Agnes Hospital
- VAMC Green Bay
- ThedaCare Appleton
- ThedaCare Neenah
- ThedaCare Waupaca
When Your CRNA License is at Risk
No one dreams of becoming a CRNA only to have their hard-won professional reputation threatened by an accusation of misconduct or other wrongdoing. It's an unnerving and frightening experience, one that can derail your career and financial goals, wreak havoc on your mental health, and upset your personal and family life.
If you have been notified that the Wisconsin Board of Nursing and Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services received allegations of misconduct against you, this is not the time to bury your head in the sand but rather build the strongest defense possible to maintain your license and livelihood.
Wisconsin Statutes Section 441.07, outlining “Disciplinary proceedings and actions,” explains that it is the responsibility of the Board of Nursing to investigate and sanction CRNAs and other nurses if it feels a complaint about patient or public safety may have merit. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services outlines the procedures for pleadings and hearings.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team exists to help you through this process, taking the load off of you and taking on the myriad tasks involved in answering and defending a complaint.
Allegations That Can Put a Wisconsin CRNA License at Risk
In the Wisconsin administrative code provisions, you can find general grounds for suspending or revoking licenses or administratively disciplining CRNAs in other ways. Examples of misconduct that may result in reprimand, including mandatory education or license suspension or revocation, include:
- Fraudulently obtaining a CRNA license
- Illegal, incompetent, or negligent nursing practice
- Abuse of alcohol or other drugs
- Violating state or federal laws pertaining to prescribing or dispensing drugs
The Rules of Conduct, which are specific to nursing, contain additional grounds for alleging wrongdoing. These include:
- Failure to cooperate in a timely manner with a board investigation (e.g., taking longer than 30 days to respond)
- Practicing without a license or beyond the scope of your license
- Not notifying the Board of Nursing about a criminal conviction within 48 hours
- Violating patient confidentiality or privacy
- Misconduct having to do with a patient's money or property
- Patient abuse
- Violating professional boundaries
- Sexual misconduct
- Falsifying any reports, documentation, or other records
- Misrepresenting your credentials
- Performing nursing while lacking safety or skill
- Nursing while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
When Someone Files a Complaint Against a CRNA in Wisconsin
When the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services receives a complaint against a CRNA or other nursing professional, it refers the matter to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing for screening and possible investigation.
The online complaint form asks the complainant for:
- Their name, address, birth date, and phone number
- Whether they have retained an attorney
- If their complaint is against an individual license or business
- A description of the event with as much specific information as possible
- Names of any additional individuals involved in the incident
- A statement describing what allegedly occurred, including the date(s) and location(s)
- Attached copies of any supplemental documents, including photographs, medical records, billing statements, notes, and so on.
- A signed authorization for the release of medical records to assist in the investigation of a complaint against a CRNA or other healthcare professional
(In lieu of filing an online complaint, individuals can complete and mail it to the Division of Legal Services and Compliance in Madison.)
While complainants can submit a claim anonymously, the Department of Safety and Professional Services warns that it may be more difficult to investigate the complaint thoroughly. Complainants are also advised that complaints are subject to open records laws, so they do run the risk of having their identity revealed even if they wish to file anonymously. This means that if you wish to know who filed a complaint against you, you should be able to get this information, and we can help you secure it.
The Board, at its discretion, may determine that a settlement conference should take place prior to a disciplinary hearing. This may be decided when the information gathered indicates that a violation reasonably took place when the facts in the complaint are undisputed, and when they are limited enough in scope to be resolved in a settlement conference.
If the Board decides to offer a settlement conference, they will contact you to see if this is something you wish to participate in. You will receive this information in writing, and your consent is required for a settlement conference to take place.
In lieu of a settlement conference, a hearing will be scheduled. In almost all cases, you will receive notice in the mail at least ten days prior to the hearing date.
You will have an opportunity to answer the complaint with your defense or denial within 20 days. If you are unaware of what the complaint entails, you can state this as well, which will constitute a denial.
If you are required to attend a disciplinary hearing, you have the right to be represented by legal counsel, who can supply evidence as well as call, examine, and cross-examine witnesses in your case. Note that hearings are held in Madison, Wisconsin unless otherwise noted.
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can attend the hearing to advocate on your behalf, present evidence, and cross-examine any witnesses testifying under oath. The hearing will be recorded for transcription, which we will use in the event we decide to pursue an administrative appeal. After the judge issues a written decision, we will review this with you. The judge may also impose costs of the formal hearing.
As you think about how to move forward, you may be wondering about timelines. Wisconsin tries to resolve each of the 3,000 complaints it receives each year within 18 months of it being open, but the time your case is open could be shorter or longer.
We Go to Bat for Wisconsin CRNA License Holders
If you're feeling overwhelmed by an allegation filed against you and at the thought of losing your CRNA license, remember the work you put into getting where you are. This is no time to try to wish the allegations away or ignore them. You have legal options, and we can work through them with you. We can help you:
- Prepare for and attend a settlement conference prior to formal proceedings
- Respond to investigation and interview requests on your behalf
- Answer the Board of Nursing's notice of formal proceedings, ensuring you don't default
- Discover evidence provided to support the charges against you so we can gather the appropriate evidence supporting your position
- Communicate directly with disciplinary officials and judges while advocating for your procedural rights
- Negotiate for a favorable resolution of the disciplinary charges by consent agreement
- Prepare for your hearing, including witness and exhibit preparation.
- Draft and submit hearing briefs
- Attend your formal hearing, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge exhibits
- Help you interpret the judge's ruling and, if not in your favor, work to find grounds for appeal
- Pursue your appeal
- Communicate with your employer throughout the proceedings to protect your job pending the proceeding's outcome
If you have any doubts about your ability to get through this, remember that you deliver anesthesia, pain management, and other critical care to patients of all health complexities across people's lifespans. You are a trusted, independent healthcare professional providing patient-centered, high-quality, holistic, and evidence-based care to patients. You're a proven hard worker, helping people in the humanitarian career you've chosen, and we want to work just as hard for you.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking all is lost and that any disciplinary action taken against you will include revoking your CRNA license. It does not have to get to that point.
Call the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team Today to Discuss How We Will Protect Your Wisconsin CRNA License
We are firm in our belief in our client's due process rights, and we are ready to stand by you as a strong advocate and negotiator. We regularly work with state Nursing Boards and licensing agencies nationwide when professional licenses are at risk, and we want to be your defense.