Concerned about Nursing License Suspension in Indiana?
As we approach the Indiana nursing license renewal deadline on October 31st, 2023, it’s important for all practitioners to fully understand the renewal process and what factors may threaten their professional license in Indiana. This post will provide a brief overview of the nursing license renewal process and touch on the sanctioning power of the Indiana State Board of Nursing. However, if you are concerned about a nursing license suspension in Indiana, do not hesitate to call the professional license defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our team has extensive experience representing clients before the Nursing Board, and will fight tirelessly to protect you, your license, and ultimately, your livelihood.
Indiana Nursing License Renewal
Per Indiana Code 25-23-1-16.1, a license to practice as a registered nurse will expire on October 31st of each year ending with an odd number (i.e. October 31st, 2023, or October 31st, 2025); while a license to practice as a licensed practical nurse will expire on October 31st of each year ending with an even number (i.e. October 31st, 2024, or October 31st, 2026). In other words, nurses must renew their Indiana nursing license once every two years.
The first step a nurse must take towards renewing their Indiana nursing license is to submit the renewal application and pay the associated $50 license renewal fee. This may be completed online via Indiana’s MyLicense website or by submitting an application renewal form through the mail. Nurses who fail to renew their nursing license on time will have their license automatically rendered invalid. However, licenses that have been expired for less than 3 years, may be reinstated by simply submitting a renewal application online and paying both a $50 application fee AND a $50 late fee. For nursing licenses that have been expired for more than three years, the license holder would need to pay an additional reinstatement fee of $100, submit a new positive response documentation, and provide proof of one active license from another State or Territory of the United States.
Positive Response Questionnaire
The one element of the renewal process that can cause concern regarding a nursing license suspension in Indiana is the six-question positive response questionnaire. This document requires the renewing practitioner to answer a series of six questions regarding their compliance with the Indiana Health Professionals Standards of Practice and the Indiana Standards of Practice for Nursing, set forth in the Indiana Nurse Practice Act.
Positive Response Questionnaire
- “Since you last renewed, has any professional license, certificate, registration, or permit you hold or have held, been disciplined or are formal charges pending in any state?”
- “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 contendere to any offense, misdemeanor, or felony in any state?”
- “Since you last renewed, have you had a malpractice judgment against you or settled any malpractice action?”
- “Since you last renewed, have you ever been terminated, reprimanded, disciplined, or demoted in the scope of your practice as a Nurse or as another health care professional?”
- “Since you last renewed, have you been excluded from being a Medicare or Medicaid provider?”
Generally, to be in complete compliance with the State Board of Nursing’s standards of practice, a practitioner must answer “no” to all of the questions on this questionnaire. If the practitioner answers “yes” to one or more of the questions or is believed to have answered a question in deceit, the Board may call for an investigation, putting the practitioner’s license at risk. Given what’s at stake, it’s vital that any nurse seeking to renew an Indiana nursing license be honest and upfront when completing this form and secure legal representation prior to submitting the questions, if concerned about one or more of their answers to the questionnaire.
Legal Issues and Nursing Licensure
The majority of licensed nurses are well-suited to answer most of the questions posed by the positive-response questionnaire. However, it’s common for some to be unsure of how answer question three, which reads, “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 contendere to any offense, misdemeanor, or felony in any state?”
Basically, this question is asking you to disclose any criminal arrests or convictions, that have not been expunged, that may have taken place in the last two years since you previously chose to renew your nursing license in Indiana. It’s important to note, as well, that this question does include dismissals and diversion programs, which is common for first-time DUI’s in Indiana and lower-level violations of the Indiana drug laws.
Any nurse that has an issue answering this question should consult with a nursing license defense attorney prior to submitting their renewal application. Doing so will allow the attorney ample time to prepare an adequate explanation for the affirmative answer and prepare for a personal appearance, if one is ultimately called by the Board. To protect your livelihood and better avoid a nursing license suspension in Indiana, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Penalties Against a Nursing License in Indiana
Any nurse that provides a positive answer to one or more of the six questions on the positive response questionnaire runs the risk of having their nursing license suspended in Indiana. However, suspension is not the only penalty the Board may levy against a license, and with the help of the right professional license defense attorney, the possible penalties for a positive answer can be greatly minimized.
When encountered with a positive answer, the first thing the Board does is request an explanation for the answer. Typically, this explanation is drafted by a skilled attorney who understands how to best protect a professional license, given the circumstances at hand. If the Board is satisfied with the answer provided, they may choose to grant the nursing license renewal and move forward, with no penalties placed on the license. However, if the Board is not satisfied with the explanation, they may call the license holder before the Board for a personal appearance. If this occurs, the practitioner will certainly want to hire a defense attorney with experience handling cases before the Board. This will better ensure that there are no surprises at the appearance and limit potential penalties.
Under Indiana Code 25-1-9-9, the Board to impose the following penalties upon nurses found in violation of the Indiana Standards of Practice:
- Permanent revocation of license
- Suspension of license
- Censure of the licensee
- Written reprimand of licensee
- Placement of the licensee on probation
- Required participation in the Indiana State Nurses Assistance Program (ISNAP)
- Assessment of a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per violation
Facing a Potential Nursing License Suspension in Indiana?
Nursing is a challenging profession, and can require a lot from a person, both in an emotional and physical sense. It’s also an expensive profession to pursue, requiring practitioners to undergo specialized education and training prior to entering the field. Given this, and all that’s stake, those facing a potential nursing license suspension in Indiana should do everything in their power to protect their career and livelihood. That starts with contacting an experienced Indiana nursing license defense attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
Our experienced professional license defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of Indiana nurses. Using exceptional litigation skills acquired through decades of work as trial lawyers, we understand what it takes to defend your nursing license, and are willing to exhaust all options to protect both you and your career. To speak with an attorney today, call 317-648-9560 or schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.