New York Lawyers For Nurses
If you are a New York or New Jersey nurse and find yourself in need of speaking with an attorney concerning your employment or licensing situation, we are at your corner. Our firm has been representing New York and New Jersey nurses for years in cases involving professional licensing, hospital investigations, and criminal defense.
Nursing is the backbone of medical practice. Nurses are some of the most dedicated and hardworking healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, they are also the most under appreciated, overworked, and vulnerable to legal misfortunes. Nurses work hard to earn their degrees and work even harder at their jobs. Small mistakes and sometimes other factors may completely derail a nurse’s career. If you feel that you need professional legal help, call our lawyers today.
Situations we can help with
- Your employer suspended you for alleged wrongdoing
- You have been summoned to attend a meeting with your supervisors/HR after you were suspended or written up
- You have been investigated by the Office of Professional Discipline (in New York) or the Board of Nursing (in New Jersey)
- You have been approached by the investigators with the Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
- You have been arrested for any criminal offense
- Your application for nursing license has been held or placed under review
- You have been excluded from Medicaid by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General
- You have been referred to participate in the RAMP program and you feel that you don’t belong there.
If you face of these situations, you need to speak with an experienced attorney who has helped other nurses in you position. At Norman Spencer and Associates, we are such attorneys. Over the years we have successfully defended hundreds of nurses facing various legal hurdles.
Professional Discipline of Nurses
Nurses are licensed professionals. Nursing, as well as other health care professions, is heavily regulated by state boards. In New York and New Jersey it would be State Boards of Nursing. State laws define dozens of types of professional misconduct. In New York this list entails around forty different violations that can be basis for discipline. If a nurse is found guilty of any one of them, he or she will be subject to sanctions and penalties that can range from fines and administrative warning to license suspension and revocation.
The most common types of professional misconduct are the following:
- Practicing with negligence or incompetence
- Practicing outside the scope of profession
- Failure to keep proper records
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Diversion of controlled substances (yes, this is a big one)
- Being convicted of a crime
Hospital and Other Employer Related Situations
Most disciplinary problems nurses face begin at their work places. Being a floor nurse at a hospital or nursing facility is stressful enough. Many of our clients work in understaffed and stressful environments, which are not always healthy. Mistakes amongst nurses are common, mostly related to keeping records. Real or imaginary transgressions often result in a report by a jealous co-worker or a retaliatory action by a supervisor, setting off a whole chain of events. Many nurses are singled out for punishment for violating the employer’s policies even though these policies are vague or non-existent, and even though other nurses and doctors can get away with much worse. That is not to say that most nurses accused of wrong doing at their work place are wrongly or arbitrarily accused, but that number is certainly high.
If you are suspended or accused and are called in to attend a meeting with your supervisor, hospital administration, or the HR personnel, be aware. In our experience, this is often just a ploy to obtain your statements, which will be used in the employer’s decision to terminate you and report you to the Board of Nursing or the Office of Professional Discipline. You will be provided your union representative to attend this meeting with you. We strongly recommend not attending this meeting before consulting with an attorney experienced in nursing matters. Union representatives are not attorneys and cannot provide you with legal services. What seems like an internal employment matter is actually something more – it is a serious legal matter and you need serious legal representation.
Office of Professional Discipline/Board of Nursing Representation
One of the major areas of our representation of New York and New Jersey nurses is before the Office of Professional Discipline (OPD) and the Board of Nursing. Each year thousands of complaints against nurses are generated and investigated by the licensing boards. According to the protocol, the OPD will assign an investigator to each case. The investigator will then look into the matter (sometimes it can take months and even more than a year) to determine if there are sufficient grounds to bring formal charges against the nurse. During that time, you will receive a letter from the investigator setting up an interview with you. This time is crucial to your case. Do not speak with the investigator before reaching out to an experienced nurse attorney. By agreeing to an interview, you may be committing yourself to making statements and admissions, which will place your license in serious jeopardy. You don’t have to speak with the investigator. We can assist you in this process and protect your rights.
If the investigator determines that there is enough evidence to file charges, the case will be assigned to a prosecuting attorney. The case will eventually be resolved through a complicated negotiation process or proceed to a disciplinary hearing. Our nursing license attorneys have seen all kinds of disciplinary cases and we handled them at all stages, from the initial investigation to the hearing. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.
Office of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Nurses Representation
New York Office of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) is part of the Attorney General’s Office. With several regional offices around the state (3 offices in the NYC Metropolitan Area), the organization investigates and prosecutes cases of Medicaid fraud and patient abuse. Nurses come into the MFCU crosshairs in several situations. First, visiting nurses who are accused of billing for services which were not provided. This can happen when a nurse falsely certifies that he or she was seeing patients on particular dates and providing particular services. Second, nurses in adult care facilities who may be accused of participating in a larger scheme to defraud Medicaid. Third, nursing home and other facilities nurses who may be accused of some form of patient abuse.
Being investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is serious business. It can lead to your arrest and criminal prosecution. If the investigators approach you, do not discuss anything with them. Call our office immediately to speak with an attorney who will protect your rights.
Office of Medicaid Inspector General Exclusions
We represented numerous nurses who were excluded from Medicaid in New York by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG). OMIG is an organization which oversees and controls the administration of the Medicaid Program in New York. The agency is empowered to exclude any healthcare professional from participating in the Medicaid program on various grounds. The most common situations which can lead to OMIG exclusion of a nurse are the following:
- Being arrested and charged with a healthcare related crime (note that you don’t have to be convicted. OMIG judges you guilty before proven guilty)
- Being found guilty of professional misconduct which may affect the Medicaid program such as fraud
Medicaid exclusion can effectively end your nursing career because you will not be able to work at any facility that provides services covered by Medicaid, which means most employers. If you received a Notice of Intended Agency Action from the Office of Medicaid Inspector General, contact our attorney immediately. You only have limited time to respond to the Notice and if you don’t file your response within the allotted time limits, you will be forfeiting your rights to appeal.
New York Lawyer for Nurses
We have represented and defended hundreds of nurses in all types of situations. Put our experience to work for you. We are centrally located downtown Manhattan and we represent nurses from New York City, Long Island, and upstate New York as well as New Jersey.