Los Angeles Nurse License Defense Lawyers
Raiser & Kenniff’s team of Los Angeles nurse license defense lawyers represent nurses in physician offices, hospitals, home health agencies, and in all other capacities. We work to protect nurse LPN, LP, and RN professional licenses – and their future. Nurses defending themselves have a higher chance of facing harsh disciplinary action when accused. If you hire the right attorney, however, you can beat those false charges without losing your license – or facing any charges. It’s crucial you hire a Los Angeles nurse license defense attorney to help, though – because otherwise you risk falling victim to the legal system. Our Los Angeles nursing license defense attorney have immense experience helping nurses beat false charges, and accusations.
We recognize that nurses study 2-4 years in order to get a license to practice. That means you’ve invested a lot of time and money into your future. You are dedicated towards your patients. Sometimes, however, nurses are falsely accused. No one is perfect, and challenges do occur. Nurses have the hardest profession in the medical field. Nurses have to interact on patients in more ways than doctors. Sometimes accusations may arise due to miscommunication, or confusions of what a nurse is doing when engaging in her responsibilities. In some cases, we’ve seen nurses wrongfully accused of sexual violation – when they were simply helping the patient. Without proper legal defense – that nurse would’ve gone to jail because the patient was exaggerating. Another example where a nurse may need an attorney is when a doctor orders a change of medication, but the nurse is unaware because she wasn’t notified correctly. As a result, she gives the incorrect medication and is accused of malpractice.
There are many laws in place to protect patient’s – but it’s possible for nurses to protect their licenses by speaking to an attorney.
Don’t go it alone – hire an Los Angeles nurse license defense attorney
If you’re facing a potential license investigation, accusation, or a statement of issues by California’s Board of Registered Nursing – then you need to hire our license defense attorney. We have an experience team of Los Angeles nurse license defense lawyers, paralegals, and professionals – who can help protect your license. Nurses comprise the largest segment of health care workers. Because they are primary care givers, they have more patient contact and as a result find themselves in danger of being accused of misconduct.
We highly recommend you never go into a license hearing without the help of a trained license defense attorney.
The DOI employs officers who conduct the investigation on behalf of BRN. The investigator will interview the nurse, and the complainant, and all other relevant people. The investigator gathers the documentation, patient records, etc, from all the relevant places. After it’s all collected, the investigator then prepares a report for BRN. Typically, the complainant will not receive status updates after the initial complaint is made. The enforcement program doesn’t discuss details of the case, or give updates on the investigation. The complaints are held as confidential, and are not public record unless an accusation is formally filed. If the investigation reveals theres sufficient evidence to show a violation of the Nursing Practice Act occurred, then a pleading is filed by the BRN with the AG’s office. The RN is sent a formal accusation, which is a document that will list the charges – and is given an opportunity to dispute the charges at a hearing. Alternatively, the nurse can negotiate a stipulated agreement. This is public record. The length of time it takes to resolve a complaint depends heavily on the complexity of the complaint, and the type of review conducted to address it.
The BRN Complaint Process
The Board of Registered Nursing protects the public by regulating nurses. Complaints are vigorously looked at, and investigated, and penalties have become increasingly more and more severe. It’s important to contact Raiser & Kenniff, PC, in order to protect yourself. We have worked with the BRN of California in order to defend against complaints made against your nursing license. When a nurse license complaint is received by BRN, there’s a process which happens:
- The complaint file is opened
- There is a preliminary review which is done to determine if there’s a basis for the BRN to handle the complaint. If the BRN doesn’t have jurisdiction, then the complaint is closed
- If the BRN determines it has jurisdiction, then it will evaluate with the situation qualifies for the well known Diversion Program
- If BRN determines it doesn’t go through the diversion program, then the BRN will start investigating
- There are two options after the investigation happens: the file is closed, and it’s determined the claim had merit but there was not enough evidence —- or —– a finding that there’s sufficient basis to refer the matter to the Attorney General for prosecution. Less serious matters are typically sent to another department which will issue a fine, or some administrative punishment
- When the complaint is prosecuted, the nurse is eligible to a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge, who then renders a non-binding decision which is considered by the BRN
- If the BRN issues a punishment, then the nurse can appeal it to a superior court
We can help you resolve the complaint and minimize the impact on your career. Our Los Angeles nurse license defense lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience helping nurses. We can help you at any stage of the process – even if you’re already on probation. If you’ve already received probation, we can minimize the length and severity of the probation.
- After a minimum period that could be awarded passes, our Los Angeles license defense lawyers can file a petition that requests a modification of the probation
- Our attorneys present new evidence to the BRN. We can use this to help change their decision.
- The administrative judge will review our new evidence and render a finding
- The BRN will then decide to either grant, or deny, the new petition our Los Angeles license defense lawyers have filed.
BRN Intervention Program
The California Board of Registered Nursing has an intervention program, which is an option for nurses who are suffering from mental illnesses, or other impairments in the course of fulfilling their duties. The BRN intervention program allows a nurse to undergo treatment instead of going through a formal administrative hearing and a formal BRN ruling. Nurses are not eligible for the intervention program if he or she:
- Is previously disciplined by the BRN due to mental illnesses, or drug/alcohol abuse
- Is responsible for harm, or death of a patient
- Sold drugs
- Was discharged from a previous program due to failure to satisfy the terms of the program
The program is something our Los Angeles nursing license defense attorneys can ask for, in order to avoid a negative BRN ruling. This is a decision which should be made with an attorney, and should be done after all the options have been considered.
Board of Registered Nursing Disciplinary Process
Below is the disciplinary process and how it unfolds.
1. Complaint Intake
A complaint is filed that the nurse has violated the nursing practice act. The complaint can be for any number of things, such as: patient care issues, chemical dependency impairing judgement, sexual misconduct, a past criminal conviction, or some other fraud pertaining to the application filed. After the complaint is received by the BRN, a written notification is sent to the complainant in 10 days.
2. Investigation is conducted
If the BRN needs more information in order to make a decision then they’ll request a formal investigation to occur. This investigation by the BRN is something our Los Angeles nurse license defense lawyers can help with. The BRN will try to do interviews, gather evidence, and MAY EVEN refer your case to the DA’s office if a crime was committed. The investigator then submits a written report with the findings to the BRN. If there’s no violation discovered, then the complainant is notified that the case was closed.
3. Legal action is taken
If the investigation determines that a violation occurred, but no disciplinary action is needed – then the BRN’s Citation and Fine System take over. They’ll take some form of action. If it’s determined that disciplinary action is necessary, then the Attorney General’s office takes over. They review the case and an accusation is going to be spent to the complainant. Similar to a court trial, an administrative hearing will be done – where the nurse can formally dispute the charges and question the accuser. The case can be resolved by a stipulated agreement instead of a hearing. The BRN will be the one who makes the final decision on any disciplinary decisions. Actions can involve things like revoking or suspending a license, putting the nurse’s license on probation, or citing and fining the nurse.
If your license is put on probation, then a probation monitor will be assigned to you. The probation monitor will be responsible for monitoring the compliance of your probation. After you successfully complete probation, your license will be restored without any restrictions on it.
Board of Registered Nursing License Reinstatement Process
If the BRN disciplinary process has resulted in the revocation, or surrender, of your license – then our Los Angeles nurse license defense attorneys may be able to help you get it reinstated. There are 6 steps involved.
1) Determining eligibility
You have to be eligible to petition for license reinstatement. This will depend on the terms of the disciplinary actions taken by the Board. It usually involves a waiting period to have passed.
Once eligibility conditions are met – the petition is required to request a license reinstatement packet from the BRN. You return the completed petition, in addition to any other materials that our attorneys think should be sent to the Board for consideration. That means sending things like – evidence of continuing education, certificates of completion of rehab programs, community service hours, recommendation letters, and other things that make you look good.
3) Waiting list
All petitioners are added to a waiting list of 11-12 months. At that time, the petition is contacted by BRN to confirm the nurse is interested in license reinstatement. If so, you’ll get a notice to appear in front of the BRN within 60 days.
4) Testifying in front of the board
You, and our nurse license defense attorneys, will testify before the BRN’s board members, an administrative law judge, and members of the public. You will not be responsible to discuss why the license was revoked. You will focus on what you have done since the disciplinary action to prove you are rehabilitated. This hearing is opened for questions by the Deputy Attorney and the Board.
After the meeting happens, the administrative law judge puts in a decision based on what the Board wishes. You get a notification of a decision in 45 days. You can appeal the decision, otherwise it becomes effective in 30 days.
6) Appeal (if necessary)
You can appeal the Board’s decision partially, or entirely. The board members can vote if they agree to reconsider the decision. If so, the Board goes to a closed session – the petitioner isn’t required to reappear.
Board of Vocational Nurses
The California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians also operates similar to the BRN. It’s charged with overseeing all issues pertaining to licensing, regulations, and any disciplinary actions which have to be brought up against vocational nurses. If you’re a nurse facing complaints brought to the BVNPT, then we may be able to help you. Complaints brought to the BVNPT usually involve allegations of incompetence in performance of duties, or if the nurse acted in a negligent manner, or was convicted of a crime. Anyone can register a complaint, if he/she believes there’s a violation of licensing regulations. The complaint could involve the office of Administrative Hearings, the AG, many other departments. We can help minimize the impact of a BVNPT complaint, or help get the complaint dismissed all together.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of complaints does the BRN handle
- Drug abuse
- Gross negligence
- Patient abuse
- Sexual offenses
- Unsafe to practice
What complaints are outside BRN’s jurisdiction
- Interpersonal conflicts
- Employee-employer issues
- Labor issues
- Billing issues
What if someone filed an anonymous complaint
The BRN accepts anonymous complaints. Complaints that don’t include a persons name, or don’t include specific details – are difficult to investigate. If a person provides his name, address, or phone, the BRN doesn’t guarantee anonymity. You have the right to confront and cross-examine the witness as a part of the appeals process, which is something our Los Angeles Nurse License Defense Lawyers will help handle.
How is a complaint processed
After 10 days of a complaint – the BRN sends the complainant notification of receipt. The enforcement program then evaluates the complaint, and obtains additional info as needed. Depending on what happens in this step, the complaint is handled in one or more of the following methods:
- Non jurisdictional complaints that don’t fall within BRN’s authority are closed and referred to the appropriate agency
- The BRN refer’s the complaint to the diversion program for things including chemical dependency, alcohol abuse, or mental illnesses
- For nursing practice complaints, the case is referred to the nursing education consultant. This consultant will conduct the initial investigation to then assess the complaint. Outside experts might get involved.
When a nurse passes the California nursing exams and receive a license, they are permitted to seek employment in any medical facility. It’s a beautiful moment after years of hard work, but facing the state nursing board is terrifying. Even when a nurse has done nothing wrong, anyone can file a complaint about them. If the complaint contains allegations of ethical violation, criminal activity, or even violation of the state health codes, a nurse is investigated. Being investigated causes emotional stress, a nurse’s reputation could be tarnished, and their license could be in jeopardy of revocation.
Penalties for Breaking Laws
Any nurse who is found guilty of willfully and knowingly breaking the law will be subject to penalties for his or her actions. These penalties begin with the board and are passed onto the state if the criminal offense calls for it. There are a few actions that might result in a nurse’s case being sent to the federal court in California. Possible penalties for breaking the law in nursing in Los Angeles include the following:
Each fine and each prison sentence is determined by the crime, the number of counts, and whether it’s a state or federal issues. Nurses’ aren’t always going to lose a license and move on. One complaint can change the entire course of his or her life. When a Los Angeles nurse receives word he or she is the subject of a medical board investigation, it’s time to call an experienced Los Angeles nursing license defense attorney. There are proper channels in which the investigation must go through, proper protocol must be used, and the nurses’ rights must not be violated at any time during the investigation. Don’t wait to call an Los Angeles Nurse License Defense Lawyer if you are being investigated by the board. Your license, your future, and your profession are on the line if you are investigated.
Anyone has a right to complain about a nurse. A patient, a family member of a patient, a coworker, an employee, a doctor, an insurance company, a law enforcement officer, or even a stranger you encounter at the local coffee shop who sees you in your scrubs and your nametag can file a complaint about you if they decide they think you’re wrong, or they simply don’t like you. It’s rather unfortunate, but that’s how many people operate anymore. If you cut someone off in traffic, they can pick up the phone and call the state medical board to report you for negligence or misconduct they made up in their own mind, and you’ll be investigated. Some of the most common investigations include:
– Professional misconduct
– Sexual misconduct
– Improper medical care
– Drug or alcohol use
When an investigation is filed, you receive notification. It likely includes patient information from the person or family who filed a complaint, and you will have to break patient confidentiality to provide those records. The patient already knows this is a possibility when they file a complaint. You are required to submit a response, as well as many personal records of your own. Don’t do anything until you contact an attorney to ensure you’re doing it correctly, providing only the information legal required, and you aren’t putting your career in jeopardy by providing too much or too little.
In many cases, the complaints filed by patients are not through any fault of your own, and your nursing license is not in jeopardy. It’s not always to prove this is true, however, and it might take serious time. During this time, your license could already be suspended, and you could be put on probation. This is why it’s so imperative to hire a Los Angeles Nurse License Defense Lawyers who knows the process, can speed it up, and can get you back to work as quickly as possible.
Your career depends on the administrative hearing scheduled for your defense, and having someone on your side who is familiar with the law and how it works is always appreciated. Call a Los Angeles Nurse License Defense Lawyers today to protect your nursing license.