Looking for an Indiana Nursing License Defense Attorney?
Amid the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans were reminded of the incredible selflessness and perseverance that it takes to be a nurse. It’s far from being an easy profession; it requires rigorous study, strange hours, and near-constant stress. It also requires one to work under the scrutiny of the Indiana State Board of Nursing (ISBN), where one complaint or slip-up could put your ability to practice nursing at risk. In situations like these, you’ll want to find an Indiana nursing license defense attorney to be your advocate and fight aggressively to protect your livelihood.
The Indiana board of nursing attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are skilled litigators who are passionate about protecting the rights of Indiana nurses. As trial lawyers with decades of experience in the court room, you can be confident that our attorneys have what it takes to defend you, your nursing license and your career. Call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form.
Standards of Practice for an Indiana Nursing License
Nurses who find themselves in need of an Indiana Nursing License defense attorney are often facing a legal matter or complaint that’s in conflict with the Indiana Health Professionals Standards of Practice. As stated in Indiana Code 25-1-9-4, prohibitions within the Indiana Health Professionals Standards of Practice include:
- Engaging in fraud or material deception in providing professional services or related activities
- Being convicted of a crime or assessed a civil penalty for fraudulent billing practices
- Being convicted of a crime with a direct bearing on the practitioner’s ability to continue to practice competently or one that is harmful to the public
- Knowingly violating any federal or state statute, rule, or regulation regulating the profession in question
- Continuing to practice after becoming unfit to practice due to professional incompetence
- Failing to keep abreast of current professional theory or practice
- Being addicted to, abusing, or having a severe dependency on alcohol or other drugs that endanger the public by impairing a practitioner’s ability to practice safely
- Engaging in lewd or immoral conduct in connection with the delivery of services to the public
- Diverting a legend drug
- Prescribing or administering any drug classified as a narcotic, addicting, or dangerous to a habitue or addict
- Engaging in sexual contact with a patient under the practitioner’s care
While many of these violations are clear and valid, some are written in a rather broad manner and can be interpreted in different ways. For example, simply being convicted of a crime doesn’t necessarily threaten a nurse’s license. However, if that crime has a direct bearing on a nurse’s ability to practice in a competent manner, then the license may be at risk. In situations like this, an experienced Indiana nursing license defense attorney may be able to make the argument that a nurse’s conviction or a complaint made against their license does not impact your ability to practice nursing in a competent manner.
Indiana Board of Nursing Disciplinary Procedures
Most violations of the Indiana Health Professionals Standards of Practice come to the attention of the Board of Nursing or the Office of the Indiana Attorney General via complaints made to the Consumer Protection Division of the AG’s office or directly to the Board.
When the Consumer Protection Division receives a complaint, it will first investigate and make a determination on the merit of the allegations. If the division finds merit, it will forward the complaint to the Board and give them 30 days to reach a settlement between the Indiana nurse and the complainant. In instances where a settlement is not reached, the Consumer Protection Division will investigate further, and collect as much information about the complaint as possible.
At the end of the investigation, the director of the Division will make a final conclusion on whether disciplinary action is necessary and provide that recommendation to the attorney general, who will then decide whether to prosecute the complaint before the Board of Nursing. If the AG believes that prosecution is appropriate, the Board or an administrative law judge will hear the case. These proceedings operate much like a trial; they include witnesses, cross-examinations, and arguments from both sides. Given this, it’s vital that a nurse facing a hearing before the Board or an administrative judge retain the services of an Indiana nursing license defense attorney. If you’d like to speak with one today, you can contact Indianapolis Law Office of Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form
Self-Reporting Violations to the Board
Violations of the Standards of Practice may also come to the Board’s attention via self-reporting, often upon renewal of an Indiana nursing license. Every two years, nurses in Indiana are required to renew their Indiana nursing license. In doing so, they are required to answer six questions regarding potential violations of Indiana Health Professionals Standards of Practice.
- Since your last renewal, has any health professional license, certificate, registration, or permit you hold or have held been disciplined, or are formal charges pending?
- Since you last renewed, have you been denied a license, certificate, registration, or permit in any state?
- Since you last renewed, and except for minor violations of traffic laws resulting in fines and arrests or convictions that have been expunged by a court, have you been arrested, entered into a diversion agreement, been convicted of, pled guilty to, or pled nolo contender to any offense, misdemeanor, or felony in any state?
- Since you last renewed have you had a malpractice judgment against you or settled a malpractice action?
- Have you been reprimanded, disciplined, demoted, or terminated in the scope of your practice or as another healthcare professional?
- Since you last renewed have you been excluded from being a Medicare or Medicaid provider?
If a nurse answers “yes” to any of these questions (or provides a false answer) they will be required to make a personal appearance in front of the Indiana State Board of Nursing.
Possible Penalties for Violating the Standards of Practice
If the Indiana State Board of Nursing finds that a nurse’s violation has a direct bearing on his/her ability to practice in a competent manner, they can propose numerous types of discipline, based on the severity of the violation. Per Indiana Code 25-1-9-9, possible penalties include:
- Permanent revocation of license
- Suspension of license
- Censure of the licensee
- Written reprimand of licensee
- Placement of the licensee on probation
- Assessment of a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per violation
Nurses whose license has been put on probation or suspended by the Nursing Board for a DUI or other substance abuse violation may be required to participate in the Indiana State Nurses Assistance Program (or ISNAP). In this program, nurses are typically subject to a Recovery Monitoring Agreement (or RMA), which could include mandatory drug and alcohol testing, counseling, or other treatment services.
The Importance of Hiring an Indiana Nursing License Defense Attorney
Given the heavy regulations placed on healthcare occupations, nurses often find themselves under constant pressure to stay compliant with all relevant rules and laws. However, despite their best efforts, patient complaints and violations of the Standards of Practice can still occur. When this happens, it’s imperative that an Indiana nurse hires an experienced Indiana nursing license defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled professional license defense attorney can help negotiate a settlement, investigate the allegations in the complaint or the circumstances of the violation, and prepare a robust defense if the matter proceeds to a hearing. Ultimately, hiring an Indiana nursing license defense attorney is the best way to ensure that your future as a nurse is in the hands of a qualified professional who understands how Indiana’s professional licensing agency handles these cases, and can be your advocate.
Want to Speak with an Indiana Nursing License Defense Attorney Today?
The nursing profession has changed dramatically over the course of the last 20 years. Today, nurses often assume a much greater responsibility when it comes to the care of patients in clinical settings and are increasingly called upon to relieve doctors of some of their traditional duties. Given this, nurses are now more vulnerable to complaints regarding the standards of care and under increased pressure to remain in compliance with the Indiana Health Professionals Standards of Practice.
If you are facing a potential suspension or revocation of your Indiana nursing license, then you’ll want to do everything you can to protect yourself and your livelihood. The attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand just how much your nursing license means to you, and we know how just to protect it, as well. If you choose to hire an Indiana nursing license defense attorney from our firm, you can rest assured that they will work tirelessly to clear your name and protect your career. As experienced trial lawyers, we understand what’s at stake and what it takes to successfully defend you in front of the Indiana State Board of Nursing. Call us today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our professional license defense team.