Mistakes to Avoid
Common mistakes nurses often make during the investigative stage
Seriousness of Investigation: Do not be misled into thinking the investigation is not disciplinary or penal in nature just because the investigator may be called a “medical quality assurance investigator”. These investigations may lead to discipline which includes revocation of your licenses and thousands of dollars in fines and costs.
Role of Investigator: At times, it may seem that the investigator is on the side of the nurse by assisting them in sharing their side of the story to the prosecuting attorney at the Department of Health. Wrong. The investigator will attempt to obtain a written response or personal interview and everything you say is turned over to a prosecuting attorney at the Department of Health who can use those statements, admissions, and possible contradictions against you. The investigator cannot close the case and is only gather information to provide to an attorney to review.
Costs: Many nurses are concerned about the cost of hiring a private attorney to represent them during the investigation stage and will want to wait and see if an Administrative Complaint is going to be filed before hiring an attorney. This is a huge mistake. The Department of Health is billing for the time of their investigators and attorneys spend on your case and if an Administrative Complaint if filed that bill is sent to you to pay as part of your disciplinary action. If the case is closed at Probable Cause then you never receive a bill from the Department for the investigation. We have over a 90% success rate in obtaining closure at the Probable Cause Panel which then saves our clients public disciplinary action and money. Yes, it is often less expensive to retain my services than to go the process alone.
Payment Plans: Often times, there is a change of employment when an investigation is initiated with the Department of Health. We work with our clients to set up an initial retainer and monthly payment plan to accommodate your financial needs.
Voluntary Relinquishment: I receive a Voluntary Relinquishment form from the Department of Health and need to relinquish my license. No. Stop. Do not sign the Voluntary Relinquishment of your license without consulting an attorney. Regardless of the circumstances, relinquishing your license while there is a pending investigation has long reaching and lasting impact on any other professional license currently held or desired in the future. The Voluntary Relinquishment form is often included in the notification of investigation and / or with the Administrative Complaint, but that does not at all mean that the Department is seeking revocation of your license. Consult an experienced attorney to discuss your options.
IPN Referral: “I was referred to IPN by my employer so I must contact IPN”. IPN is the Intervention Project for Nurses. While the program assists nurses who struggle with addiction, it is not appropriate for everyone. Once you sign the paperwork with IPN you will be required to refrain from the practice of nursing until IPN deems that you are safe to practice. Any non-compliance with IPN will be reported to the Department of Health for prosecution. IPN contracts begin at anywhere from 2 to 5 years. Before contacting IPN, call my office to discuss in detail the process.