Approximately two (2) years ago, the Healthcare Boards entered into a contract with a company called the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET), whereby JNET will notify the Healthcare Boards of the arrests of any healthcare professionals.
In my blog from October, 2015, I wrote that effective October 17, 2015, the Pennsylvania Nursing Board rules now require all Pennsylvania licensed R.Ns, LPNs, CRNPs, LDNs, and CNs to report being charged with any misdemeanor or felony criminal charge within thirty (30 days of arrest.
In the last year, I have noticed increased prosecutions by the Board of Nursing and other healthcare boards for licensees who have lied on an application or renewal application. The new law requiring nurses to report arrests and the contract with JNET gives the Board increased investigatory resources and as a result, there are more prosecutions of nurses for lying on applications.
The sanctions can be anywhere from a public reprimand to a revocation.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs v. Monica Neely, R.N., at Docket No. 1322-51-15, Ms. Neely, a registered nurse, failed to disclose several retail thefts convictions on her renewal application. She filed an Answer to The Order to Show Cause alleging that she suffered from depression. Ms. Neely did not appear at the hearing, was not represented by counsel and she received a minimum three (3) year suspension of her nursing license.
If you lied on a renewal application, and there are extenuating circumstances, such as depression, stress or other mental health conditions, it is important that you hire an attorney with experience before the Nursing Board to maximize the chances of a successful outcome.
This year I have successfully resolved several cases for nurses who lied on a renewal application and have negotiated resolutions which allows the nurses to continue in the profession.
In one recent case, I represented a RN who received ARD for a theft charge. Her probation was completed and she assumed that the theft arrest was expunged by the court. Although she was eligible to have the arrest expunged, her attorney failed to file the proper paperwork and have the matter expunged. As a result, the Nursing Board prosecuted her for lying on her renewal application. Although we were able to resolve the matter with just a public reprimand, if you have received ARD, it is important that you make sure your attorney has filed for expungement and that you keep a copy of the expungement order, and follow up to make sure that your criminal record has in fact been expunged. If you fail to do so, you may be prosecuted by a Healthcare Board which may result in permanent discipline on your record.