In August, 2013, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing drastically changed the interpretation of the statute governing suspension of a nursing license for a violation under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act.
Prior to August, 2013, if a nurse was convicted of a felony under this Act, as long as a nurse was enrolled in a nursing assistance program such as the Pennsylvania Nursing Assistance Program (PNAP), the Nursing Board would typically place the nurse on probation. In many cases, after a nurse is arrested the nurse will enroll in PNAP while the criminal case is pending. That nurse would also enroll in the Voluntary Recovery Program (VRP).
At the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, if the nurse was convicted of a felony, the nurse would be removed from the VRP and be placed into the Disciplinary Monitoring (DMU). The difference between the two programs, is that the DMU is public discipline whereas the VRP is private discipline. Private discipline does not show up on a nurse’s permanent record. Public discipline will show up on a nurse’s permanent record.
Since August, 2013, as soon as the Nursing Board becomes aware of a conviction under the Controlled Substance Act, the Nursing Board is applying for and receiving a Notice and Order of Automatic Suspension. What then happens, is the nurse is notified that his/her nursing license is automatically suspended for 10 years from the date of conviction, effective immediately.
In order to challenge this 10 year suspension, the nurse must file an Answer to the Petition for Automatic Suspension and request a hearing. During this interim period, the nursing license is suspended.
We believe that the Nursing Board has no legal basis to automatically suspend a nurse’s license for 10 years after a felony conviction under the Controlled Substance Act.
If you receive a Petition for Automatic Suspension accompanied by a Notice and Order of Automatic Suspension, you should contact us immediately.
If you fail to reply to the Petition for Automatic Suspension within 20 days, you may forever lose your right to challenge your 10 year suspension.
If you are a nurse who has been arrested for a crime, we can help you. We have helped hundreds of nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and psychologists over the past 20 years in licensing and criminal matters.
We represent healthcare professionals throughout the state of Pennsylvania. All hearings in licensing matters are held in Harrisburg. We represent individuals in these hearings, as well as in the underlying criminal case which may be held in a different county.