NYC Nursing License Defense Lawyers
NYC nurse license defense lawyers at our firm have been representing numerous RNs and LPNs in all sorts of investigations, disciplinary actions, and criminal cases in New York.
Like other health care providers, nurses work hard and invest in their education in order to obtain the license that allows them to practice their profession. However, unlike many other providers, nurses carry the heaviest work load in health care and are frequently accused, rightfully or not, of various types of professional misconduct. If you are in legal trouble, our NYC nurse license defense lawyers can help.
While the complete loss of a nursing license will derail a career entirely, even a temporary license suspension may result in job loss and difficulty finding another position. A nurse who is facing investigation by the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD), the New York Board of Nursing, or any other entity should contact an experienced NYC nursing license defense attorney right away.
A nurse can face investigation for professional misconduct based on allegations such as failure to properly maintain medical records, controlled substance diversion, diverging from the standard of care, drug or alcohol abuse, and other conduct that may impair a nurse’s ability to perform his or her job duties and provide adequate care. Nurses can also be investigated if they have been convicted of a crime, whether in New York or out of state.
To complicate matters, in the case of alcohol or drug issues there is also the option to volunteer for treatment programs. Nurses should speak with their NYC nurse license defense attorneys before taking any steps in order to be fully informed of potential consequences and to find out how you can get the help you need without risking the loss of your license.
If you are a nurse and you just learned that you are being investigated or even accused of misconduct, be sure to speak with your attorney before responding to any requests or demands for information. There may be circumstances under which your best option is not to speak with employers or investigators; your New York nursing license defense attorney can advise you of the best course of action based on the specific facts of your case.
Another issue to be aware of is that the investigation can change direction or expand its scope during the process if new information comes to light that gives rise to suspicion of further misconduct. Sometimes, a misconduct investigation can ultimately result in criminal charges. It is important to be on your guard at all times, keep your attorney informed of all facts and developments, and never speak with investigators without the presence of your attorney. No matter what, you should never attempt to hide or falsify records. The likelihood of falsification being discovered is very high, especially given today’s advanced technology. Even if the investigation reveals no other wrongdoing, attempting to falsify evidence can be the basis for misconduct charges and serious penalties.
Most disciplinary investigations of nurses in New York begin with an interview letter signed by a investigator with the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD). As a licensee, you are obligated to cooperate with the investigation, so do not ignore that letter. However, most nurses do not realize that they are not obligated to speak with the investigator; in fact, making statements to an OPD investigator may cause your case irreparable damages. Speak to an experienced attorney before taking any steps.
Our NY Nurse License Defense Lawyers Can Help
If you are a nurse and you are being accused of committing any crime, even one unrelated to the provision of healthcare, you should consult an experienced health care attorney. Being convicted of a crime may result in a misconduct investigation and even the loss of your nursing license. Pleading guilty often has the same result as a conviction for the purpose of licensing investigations; for this reason, you should never agree to settle a criminal case without extensive advice from an attorney who is proficient in licensing issues and can inform you as to the likely effect of a particular plea.
With today’s amped-up fraud enforcement environment, nurses may also be targeted in the course of a fraud investigation. This can also be the case if investigators believe that a nurse assisted a provider in performing fraud such as falsifying records, submitting fraudulent claims, and making improper referrals. If the provider you work for is being audited or investigated, bear in mind that you may find yourself being scrutinized as an individual target as well.
When a provider such as a medical office, nursing home, health care agency, or hospital is being audited or investigated, the provider will retain an attorney that will also speak with employees and be present at their interviews with auditors and investigators. However, ultimately, these attorneys are working for your employer and are bound to have its best interests in mind. This will benefit you only insofar as your interests align with your employer’s. There may come a point when the employer could see fit to divulge potentially damaging information about you, or to otherwise compromise your position. In the event of a conflict, your employer’s attorney will not be on your side. With this in mind, if you learn that your employer is being audited or investigated, it is in your best interest to consult an independent NY nursing license defense attorney who will be able to wholeheartedly represent you.
If you or your employer face an audit or investigation, speak with our NYC nursing license defense lawyers immediately. Preferably, you should have your own attorney, since your employer’s attorney cannot and will not represent you as an individual should the need arise. Do not speak with or provide information to investigators and auditors before consulting your attorney. Our experienced health care attorneys are available to represent nurses who are concerned about their licensing. We can also provide legal guidance for nurses who have questions about what can constitute misconduct and how to avoid inadvertently violating applicable laws, rules, and regulations.