How a Practice Restriction Could Cost an Arizona Nurse Practitioner Their DEA Registration
Suppose the Arizona Board of Nursing has placed an Arizona nurse practitioner on probation. In that case, the probation can sometimes include a practice restriction that limits or completely stops the nurse practitioner from prescribing controlled substances for a period.
These restrictions are generally reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”). The DEA may deny, suspend or revoke a practitioner’s DEA registration for the following reasons:
- Falsified DEA Registration Application
- A state license has been placed on probation, suspended, revoked, or denied
- Excluded from participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs
- Convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance
- Committed an act that is inconsistent with the public interest
DEA Process of Show Cause Order
The Drug Enforcement Administration or Agency can’t take action without following the protocol. When taking action against someone’s registration to sell controlled substances, it must first serve them with a show cause order before issuing any orders for suspension or revocation.
However, suppose there is enough evidence that gives rise to “an imminent danger.” Then, these emergency situations are considered and will issue simultaneous immediate suspensions and orders for show cause while still having time-sensitive deadlines afterward, so everything goes smoothly.
Arizona State Applying LEIE on Nurse with Voluntary Surrender
Unfortunately, the answer is maybe.
Several things can lead to the inclusion on the Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE), including:
- Voluntary Surrender
However, we have found that it is hit-and-miss when it comes to LEIE inclusion.
The LEIE provides information to the healthcare industry, patients, and the public regarding individuals and entities currently excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal healthcare programs and those charged with fraud-related crimes.
This LEIE also includes a listing under everyone, which contains his offense code(s), the date he was barred from participating in federal healthcare programs; exclusion reason(s); or program areas affected by these exclusions.
What is a Voluntary Surrender?
A voluntary surrender will place a permanent mark on a nurse’s record. Thus, a nurse must make sure they are making an informed decision.
Voluntary surrender is when a licensee voluntarily surrenders a professional license or voluntarily agrees not to renew one’s license, usually to resolve an outstanding complaint instead of going through the investigatory process that could lead to discipline, suspension, or revocation.
Voluntary surrender is considered formal discipline. Any formal disciplinary action from the Arizona Nursing Board is reported to NURSYS and the National Practitioner Database.
Consultation with Chelle Law on DEA Registration Application
Suppose you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Appeals services and how to protect your rights. Set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney today.
Arizona State Board Nurse License Suspension
The Arizona State Board of Nursing (“Board”) protects the medical welfare of the people of Arizona. They do this by ensuring each professional who holds a license as a nurse in Arizona can practice safely.
The Board can suspend a nurse’s license in a number of different ways.
- Summary Suspension: A summary suspension can occur when the Board believes that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action necessitating the immediate suspension of a nurse’s license.
- ATD Discharge: The Alternative to Discipline program is a non-disciplinary, confidential monitoring program for nurses with substance abuse, mental health, or physical problems. A nurse who violates their ATD Agreement can have their license suspended immediately.
- Automatic Suspension from Probation Violation: If a nurse is currently completing a Stayed Suspension Consent Agreement, the Board can automatically suspend their license for violation of the terms of the Consent Agreement.
Filing an Appeal after a Nursing Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process for an Arizona Nursing Board Hearing work like this:
The AZBON receives a complaint or investigates the nurse’s conduct (like a UCNA, LNA, or CNA). Once the Board receives a complaint or self-report, they will initiate an investigation (like if a patient in Phoenix files information, putting a nurse certificate at risk).
The investigation aims to give the AZBON evidence to decide whether a nurse should face disciplinary action (for instance, due to reporting a misdemeanor charge or conviction).
If the nurse receives an unfavorable decision, it is at this point they can then file an appeal and request a hearing with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearing. An Administrative Law Judge will oversee the appeal, and the nurse may need to attend a hearing.
However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to a hearing, or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Nursing Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any professional nurse licensee may request a legal appeal of an Arizona State Board f Nursing disciplinary action to an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), located in Phoenix. In some instances, a case is sent automatically to OAH. The OAH conducts the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The administrative process is not as formal as a trial but is similar. Each party presents evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening and closing argument, which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. A nurse’s lawyer can cross-examine witnesses and testify on his or their behalf.
After completing it, the ALJ reviews the transcripts and evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board decides to accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individual feels there has been a mistake, they can request a rehearing.
Arizona Nurse Misdemeanor
Nurses contact our board of nursing attorney and frequently ask, does state law allow a nurse with a criminal misdemeanor conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing?
The short answer is yes.
A misdemeanor for an Arizona nurse will not necessarily prevent a nurse (like an RN, LPN, or NP) from obtaining a license or a career in the health or medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on its website which covers the details of what circumstances a nurse with a case that resulted in a felony criminal conviction can get licensed.
This policy does not apply to conduct involving misdemeanor charges or convictions. Once a nurse applies to the Arizona State Board of Nursing, they need to disclose any felony criminal court convictions on their application. It must occur no matter how much time or years have passed since the conviction.
The Board will also inquire about past misdemeanor charges that resulted in a conviction. It helps the Board ensure the nurse can perform safe patient care despite a felony or other conviction on their record.
Disclosing a Misdemeanor on an Arizona Nurse Application
Suppose a nursing applicant is not required to disclose a misdemeanor (like a misdemeanor DUI). In that case, the Board can still initiate an investigation based on fingerprint background check results.
The Board then contacts the nurse and initiates an investigation utilizing the Arizona Nurse Practice Act law. The investigation determines whether the nurse is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the nurse has been rehabilitated since the misdemeanor or charges occurred. The Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe nursing care.
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist nurses with interpreting Board policy (generally contained on the Board website). They also help nurses with their application to show the Board the nurse isn’t a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and can provide safe care.
Reporting a Misdemeanor Charge to the Arizona Board of Nursing
When a police officer issues a citation or arrest (which usually includes official charges) to a person, Arizona law requires the nurse to report any criminal misdemeanor charge that may affect patient safety to the Arizona State Board of Nursing. It must occur within ten business days; the nurse must report any felony charges.
It applies to both current licensees and applicants for licensure.
The Board has a page on its website which lists what misdemeanor charges the nurse must report. The board then reviews the investigator’s report to determine if disciplinary action is necessary. It’s important to note it’s considered unprofessional conduct when a nurse receives a misdemeanor or felony charge and fails to report it to the board within ten business days. It can result in additional disciplinary actions.
Arizona Nursing Board Criminal History
ARS 32-3208 requires that nursing licensees and applicants for a nursing license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Board of Nursing within ten working days after the charge is filed.
A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within ten business days violates the Arizona Nurse Practice Act and could result in Arizona Nursing Board Discipline.
What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
The nurse practitioner must report a felony within ten days of being charged.
The following types of misdemeanors or other criminal histories are crimes that the Board has determined to be reportable under A.RS § 32-3208:
- Assault and Related Offenses
- Theft and Related Offenses
- Fraud, Deceit, and Related Offenses
- Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of a Child or Vulnerable Adult, and Related Offenses
- Sexual and Related Offenses
- Drug and/or Alcohol Related Offenses
- Arson and Related Offenses
- Animal Abuse, Cruelty, and Related Offenses
Consult with an Attorney Today
If you’re interested in learning more about Arizona Nursing Board Criminal History laws and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.