Indiana Board of Nursing Attorney
Nursing is one of those important professions that requires rigorous study and then licensure by the state of Indiana. It is not an easy profession to pursue or to practice once the pursuit is over. Given all the effort and dedication required to achieve licensure, keeping that hard-earned license is of the utmost importance. If your license is at risk because of a patient or other professional complaint, you need Indiana nursing license defense lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP by your side to fight for you.
When you hire an Indiana Board of Nursing attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you work with litigators dedicated to protecting the rights of Indiana professional. Using exceptional litigation skills acquired through decades of work as trial lawyers, we understand what your professional license means to you and what it takes to defend your license and your career.
Why You Need an Indiana Board of Nursing Attorney
Nursing is not what it used to be. Nurses have gradually assumed greater responsibilities in the care of patients in office, hospital, and clinic settings. Licensed nurses increasingly serve to relieve doctors of some of their traditional duties, helping to bring more efficient service to patients and helping hold down health care costs.
But with this advancing role in health care comes increased vulnerability to complaints about failing to meet standards of care or standards of professional conduct. If harm is done to a patient by such failures, a nurse may be sued for malpractice.
Also a licensed professional, your Indiana Board of Nursing attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP understands what your license means to you and how to fight to protect it.
Professional Prohibitions That May Affect a Nursing License
Standards of care and practice are meant to prevent harm to patients, so the Board is most interested in any action on the part of nurses that does not comply with the standards and, therefore, might result in patient harm. Nurses are subject to discipline by the Indiana State Board of Nursing for any failure to meet the standard of care, even if a patient does not claim to have been harmed by an alleged failure to meet those standards.
Nurses are also bound by the standards set out in the Indiana Health Professions Standards of Practice at Indiana Code § 25-1-9-4. These standards prohibit certain behaviors and actions by all health professionals, including nurses. The prohibitions 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
Some of these prohibitions are broadly written and can be interpreted in different ways. A complaint against a licensed nurse may or may not support a finding of violation of one of these professional standards.
For example, conviction of a crime in and of itself does not necessarily threaten a nurse’s license. Only if the conviction is for a crime that has a direct bearing on the nurses’ ability to practice competently will the conviction put the nurse’s license at risk. But what constitutes a conviction having a direct impact on the ability to practice competently is sometimes debatable, making it critical that you have a qualified Indiana Board of Nursing attorney helping you fight to protect your livelihood.
Qualified Indiana board of nursing attorneys can make sure that you are not held to a standard that is stricter than provided under the law. An experienced professional license attorney will fight for your license and career by ensuring a fair process, thorough investigation of the claims and analysis of the evidence, and robust and skillful argument of your position on the allegations.
An Indiana Board of Nursing Attorney Provides Defense for Various Levels of Nursing Licenses
Beyond the standards that apply to health professionals at large, there are also specific rules and regulations that apply just to nurses. Nursing professionals who must obtain licensure from the Board to practice in Indiana and who are subject to discipline by the Board include:
- Licensed practice nurses
- Registered nurses
- Nurse midwives
- Advanced practice registered nurses
Advanced practice registered nurses have special requirements. They act much like physicians in an office setting, performing examinations, prescribing medications, and offering diagnostic information.
To be compliant with Indiana professional license law at Indiana Code § 25-23-1-19.4, an advanced practice registered nurse must operate under a practice agreement in cooperation with and with supervision by licensed physician or medical practitioner or staff at a licensed hospital. The practice agreement must describe how the advanced practice registered nurse and licensed practitioner will work together and consult with each other in the provision of health care to their patients.
Such an agreement establishes yet another set of standards that a nurse must follow even though they are not statutorily or administratively established by the state and technically not enforced by the Board. Failure to follow certain aspects of the practice agreement, however, can run afoul of the health profession standard of practice that relates to being found unfit to practice due to professional incompetence.
Licensed nurses are bound to comply with multiple statutory, regulatory, and contractual obligations. Because the requirements themselves can be subject to differing interpretations, you need a professional license defense attorney with a deep understanding of the intent and typical interpretations applied. Fighting for your license under these circumstances requires an Indiana nursing license defense attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
Audits: An Additional Special Provision for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Indiana Code § 25-23-1-19.8 imposes additional requirements regarding practice agreements. Specifically, the law requires the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency to conduct audits in even numbered years of up to 10 percent of all practice agreements with advance practice registered nurses. Additionally, the licensed practitioner identified in the practice agreement must submit information including a sworn statement that the parties are operating within the terms of the agreement.
If the Indiana Board of Nursing reasonably determines that a nurse and licensed practitioner are not following the practice agreement, both may be ordered to appear before the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency to show evidence of compliance with the agreement.
An order to appear before the Indiana Board of Nursing should not be taken lightly, even if you’re confident in your compliance with the practice agreement. It is critical that you consult with an Indiana nursing license defense lawyer before taking any action in response to your order to appear.
Hiring an Indiana Board of Nursing Attorney is Crucial for Your Defense Against Complaints
The heavily regulated nature of health care professions, including nurses, places constant pressure on practitioners to do the right thing in compliance with all relevant laws, rules and regulations. However, despite your best efforts at full compliance, patient and professional complaints may arise. Indiana professional license laws and regulations establish a process for evaluating and deciding these complaints.
The Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General is responsible for processing and investigating complaints against professional licensed individuals such as nurses. However, the Indiana State Board of Nursing is ultimately responsible for deciding what, if any, action is to be taken against a nurse who is found to have violated professional standards or relevant state law.
When the Consumer Protection Division receives a complaint, it first makes an initial determination as to whether there is merit to the allegations. If the Division finds merit in the allegations, it forwards the complaint to the Board. For the next 30 days, the Division takes no action, allowing the Board an opportunity to reach a settlement between the nurse and the complainant.
If no settlement is reached, the Division conducts any further investigation necessary to completely ascertain the facts. If the director of the Division concludes that the nurse should be subject to disciplinary action, he or she will make that recommendation to the attorney general. The attorney general then decides whether to prosecute the complaint before the Board.
If such the attorney general determines prosecution of the complaint is appropriate, the Board or, more likely, an administrative law judge will hear the case. This proceeding operates much like a trial, with witnesses, cross-examinations, and arguments from both sides.
Indiana nursing license defense attorneys can be vital to successfully defending against the allegations in the complaint, and you should engage a professional license defense attorney as early as possible. An Indiana board of nursing attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you negotiate a settlement, investigate the allegations in the complaint, and prepare a robust defense if the matter proceeds to a hearing.
Potential Discipline Imposed by the Indiana State Board of Nursing
If the Board finds that the evidence supports the allegations involving a nurse’s professional conduct and/or qualifications, it may impose discipline in a variety of ways based on the severity of the violation. Indiana Code § 25-1-9-9 sets out the possible disciplinary sanctions nurses may face the following penalties:
- Permanent revocation of license
- Suspension of license
- Censure of the licensee
- Written reprimand of licensee
- Placement of licensee on probation
- Assessment of a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per violation
Each of these disciplinary actions can significantly impact your financial and professional health, resulting in hardship to you and your household.
Engaging an experienced Indiana Board of Nursing attorney as early in the process as possible is the best way to protect your license, career, and livelihood. From vigorous efforts toward settlement to strong defense strategies wielded by experienced litigators, we work to protect you and your license.
Contact a Keffer Hirschauer LLP Indiana Board of Nursing Attorney Today
Immediately hiring a qualified Indiana Board of Nursing attorney to handle your defense handle is vital to protecting the livelihood you struggled for. If you are a nurse of any licensing level and are looking for a way to defend your license, you do not need to look any further because an Indiana board of nursing attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can provide you with the help you need. Contact us at (317) 857-0160 or visit our contact page here for a free consultation.