New York Nurse Practitioner Disciplinary Hearing Defense Lawyer
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are able to diagnose and treat acute illnesses and chronic conditions. They possess the qualifications to order treatments, perform advanced procedures, prescribe medications and make referrals. NPs can act as a patient’s primary care provider, and treat patients of all ages.
The types of complaints received by the Board of Nursing (BON) regarding NPs usually fall within one of four divisions:
- A breach in scope of practice (SOP)
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Issues of a moral or ethical nature, or boundary violations
- Criminal behavior or convictions, including felonies that extend beyond NP clinical practice,
- examples of which are convictions for assault or theft
The disciplinary process
The Board of Nursing implements the disciplinary process in order to make certain that any problems that arise are addressed to safeguard the public and to help the NP resolve the issues. If the board determines that the NP presents a threat to public safety, or if there is evidence to suggest that the NP will be unable to practice safely for a certain period of time, the board may remove the NP from practice.
The BON has disciplined NPs for drug abuse for decades. It has also disciplined NPs for excessive or inappropriate use of alcohol that can harm their judgment or endanger the lives of patients. Violations involving ethics, morals, and boundaries refer to crimes involving moral depravity, abuse under Medicare or Medicaid, and court determinations that the NP suffers from a mental illness or is mentally incompetent.
Nurses have the right to represent themselves in a BON investigation. However, prior to making such a decision, they must realize that a licensure proceeding is adversarial. The civil case discovery regulations that permit you to view a party’s adversary’s evidence may be inapplicable in a BON hearing.
If a nurse is disciplined in one state, there can be further licensure issues in other states. If a consent agreement is signed with the BON, there is a possibility that the NP will be included on exclusion lists. This could prevent the NP from obtaining employment as a nurse. If such an agreement is signed, there is no possibility of renegotiation, and the charges cannot be denied.
Charges of criminal activity
An NP who has been charged with criminal activity, including a misdemeanor, may be questioned by the BON. The criminal accusation may also imply a breach of nursing rules, or an issue pertaining to the moral character of the nurse. NPs should be wary of accepting the advice of criminal lawyers who counsel them to accept a plea agreement because doing so can prompt an investigation by the licensing board and possible disciplinary action.
How an attorney can help
An attorney who is versed in administrative hearings and licensing issues can provide legal counsel by representing you at an administrative hearing in defense of your license. In addition, an attorney can advise you as to whether or not to submit an application for a license in another state, or wait until a case is settled in the primary state. Counsel can also provide advice as to whether you should relinquish your license, agree to a settlement or attend a hearing. Your attorney will devise a plan by which you will reduce any damage to your career.
It would be in your best interest to know what to expect in advance of an interview that is part of an investigation, settlement conference or hearing. An attorney will be able to explain the process, advise you as to what questions to expect, and prepare you for the most effective defense. If you are in danger of losing your license, call the attorneys at Brill Legal Group.