Tag Archive for: Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney

How Do Disciplinary Actions Affect Multi-State Licensing

All State Boards of Nursing issue nursing licenses for their state and they handle the disciplinary actions against nursing home professionals who violate their license requirements. If a nurse moves to another state, they will need to possess that state’s nursing license to practice. It is essential to know how holding multiple licenses can impact them should they be involved in a disciplinary action.

Nurses are permitted to hold a variety of nursing licenses. Nurses are permitted to move across state lines and posses nursing licenses in several states. When a nurse changes their license, or leaves their state, or is licensed in a new state, their old nursing license does not go away. The state agency that grants the original nursing license continues to hold jurisdiction over that nurse, even if the license has lapsed or cannot practice in that state or capacity, the state’s Board of Nursing can still discipline that individual at any time. This is true even when the nurse dropped their license.

Nurses with licenses in another state are subject to that state’s laws and rules. Those rules and disciplinary actions follow the nurse from state to state. For example, should a nurse have their license suspended in one state, and move to a different states, the new state they reside in can penalize the nurser incidents in the previous jurisdiction.

Many states also consider the failure to notify a licensing agency concerning disciplinary actions in other jurisdiction as “unprofessional conduct.” Nurses are usually required to contact multiple agencies to report any previous or ongoing disciplinary actions even if the violation did not violate the new state’s rules.

Defending Against Disciplinary Actions

There are a several ways for nurses to lose their nursing licenses or face disciplinary actions. When the violations are professionally-related, such as a nurse failing to maintain charts or is has acted negligently in their treatment of patients. Sometimes these actions can also result in criminal charges. Moreover, nurses may receive disciplinary actions or lose their license after being convicted for a crime such as drug charges. Unfortunately, addiction is a significant issue with nurses. All states address these criminal charges or accusations based on the laws in that jurisdiction. Failing to address the criminal charges, or not defending against them, a nurse could complicate their future licensing in other jurisdictions.

If you are licensed in multiple states, or have prior licenses, and have faced disciplinary actions in any of those locations, you should speak to a licensing attorney. Contact the seasoned Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Sanger Law today at (785)-979-4353 to discuss your case.

Can Unpaid School Loans Cost You Your Kansas Professional License?

School Loan debt in the United States has reached $1.6 trillion. The massive amount is a record high, and making student loan debt second only to mortgage debt when it comes to consumer loan debts. About 45 million people are facing varying amounts of debt from obtaining their degrees, and many are making large monthly payments to creditors. There have been debates as to what penalties should apply in these cases.

More than one out of every ten borrowers have a loan in default. In total, five and a half million borrowers have defaulted on school loans, meaning $119.8 billion in loans have defaulted. It is important to note that most people cannot discharge their student loan debt in bankruptcy. What this means is that the massive debt for their school loans will stay with them for life, or until they find some way to pay them back.

Since you are unlikely to get rid of your student loan debt, what will happen to your professional license in the event that you end up in the more than ten percent of borrowers who have defaulted on their loans? In some cases, one form of penalty is a loss of a professional license.

Of course, losing a professional license will make it impossible for a person to work in the career that they studied and worked hard to obtain. It will also make it more difficult for that person to pay off their debt.

License Suspension States

By 2010, close to half of all states had laws that could cause the loss of a license for professionals who default on school loans. Most states with such laws allowed for the suspension of any professional license based on the default of any kind of education loan. The boards were often able to make the final decision, though.

States Begin to Backtrack

While loan debt has created a crisis across the country, many states began to realize that these laws were not productive. Several states made moves to repeal the laws and prevent a failure to pay school loans from causing a loss of a professional license. In most states, the licensing boards lost the ability to suspend or revoke a license based on the individual’s loan repayment status.

Some States Still Allow Loan Debt to Impact Initial License Applications

Only a few states have stated that student loan debt cannot be considered when a person is applying for a new professional license. This means that loan debt can be a factor weighed by licensing boards in many states.

Of course, aside from your license, there are many consequences related to failing to pay your student loans. In Kansas, you could have your tax returns or wages garnished to cover the loan payment costs. Your credit score will suffer significantly for failure to pay. In severe cases, it is possible that you could end up facing a lawsuit.

Any Denial of a License or Challenge to a Professional License Should be Taken Seriously

Kansas does not allow for professional license suspensions for individuals who failed to pay their student loans. Licensing boards may deny applications for other reasons, including something such as lying on the application. Additionally, a disciplinary action taken against a professional in another state could impact the ability of the professional to transfer his or her license to Kansas.

If Your License is Denied or Challenged, You Need Help

A challenge to a professional license or the denial of a license is a stressful event. Those who face such scenarios need to take them seriously and should reach out to a Kansas professional licensing attorney to discuss the claim made against them.

Contact the Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law today at (785) 979-4353 to discuss your case.

Social Media May Put Teacher’s Careers at Risk

Social media has become a common part of most people’s lives. In fact, about 74 percent of people above the age of eighteen are estimated to use websites for social networking. Some of these individuals work as teachers or in education.

While it is not a problem for a teacher to use social media, it is a problem if that individual is not wise regarding how they use their account. For instance, a teacher was fired in Colorado for posting Tweets that were deemed too “racy.” Another teacher was fired in Texas after putting a post on Facebook that was found to be racist. A teacher in Utah had to fight her school district to keep her job after parents complained about her fitness modeling photos on Instagram.

How to Avoid Social Media Drama

Look at Guidelines

The first place to start if you are a teacher concerned about your presence online is to look at any guidelines published by your school district or the county. The rules might already be established, and it is a good idea to understand what type of behaviors would be considered missteps. Once armed with this information, you can feel confident in your decision to post or not post on your social media accounts.

Pick the Right Photos

Of course, the photos you post can get you in trouble as well. If you are choosing a profile picture, make sure it does not show you drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or being involved in any questionable practices. While you might even think the photo is a joke, you cannot always control how that picture will be construed.

Do Not “Friend” Students

Another guideline to follow is to never engage with students on social media. Do not accept friend requests and make sure that you take steps to prevent your students from following you. Once they graduate, it could be appropriate to friend them and keep in touch, but not before that point.

Never Include Information About Your School

Be careful about including information that will affiliate your post with your school and employer. For instance, “geo-tagging” posts may lead your students to your account. Keep your profession general, and do not state the name of the school where you teach.

Naturally, one should never complain about work, students, or co-workers online. This rule should be followed by any professional, not just teachers, but it is important to remember that you may never be able to predict who will see your post.

While this should go without saying, do not post photos of your students on your account either. While some parents are completely on board with posting their children online, others strongly oppose doing so. Students have a right to privacy, and being seen as violating their rights will put you at risk of being disciplined.

Even if you think your account should not get you in trouble, remember that people have different values and that parents are often very particular about who is influencing their children. While the rules might not seem fair, it is a good idea to think about whether the post is worth potentially causing trouble for your professional life, leading to a threat to your livelihood.

If you are a teacher and you find yourself facing disciplinary actions for your social media accounts, you need to take those allegations seriously.

Sanger Law is here to represent you and help you navigate any challenges to your Kansas or Missouri professional license. Contact the Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law today at (785) 979-4353.

Multi-State Licensing Complications and Disciplinary Actions

The Missouri State Board of Nursing issues licenses nurses in the state and will handle any disciplinary actions against a professional who violates their license. When a nurse moves over state lines, he or she will need a new license in order to practice his or her profession. It is important to understand how holding multiple licenses will impact a person in the event that a disciplinary action occurs.

Licenses Do Not Go Away

Nurses may hold a variety of licenses over the course of their careers. At different stages, they may have worked as a registered nurse, then a nurse practitioner, or held another type of license. Nurses may also move across state lines and hold licenses in more than one state. When a nurse changes her license, or leaves the state and is licensed in a new state, the old license does not just fade into non-existence. Even once a nurse has stopped applying to renew a license, the state agency that granted the license will continue to hold jurisdiction over that professional. While allowing a license to lapse will mean that the nurse is no longer able to practice in that location or capacity, the body that issued that license may still discipline that individual at any point in time. This remains true even decades after the nurse dropped the license.

Reciprocal License and Disciplinary Actions

Nurses who have or had licenses in another state are subject to the laws and rules defined by that state’s board. Violating one of those laws can cause a nurse to face disciplinary actions, and those actions will follow the nurse from state to state. If a nurse were to have his or her license suspended in one state and then move to a neighboring state, the new state could also penalize the nurse for the events that happened in the other jurisdiction.

To make matters even more complicated, many states consider the failure to notify a licensing agency about a disciplinary action in another jurisdiction is considered “unprofessional conduct.” Nurses may, therefore, be required to contact multiple agencies, including ones the individual has not been involved with for many years, to report a disciplinary action. This could remain true even if the violation was not against all of the agencies’ rules. Clearly, when nurses are registered in multiple jurisdictions, disciplinary actions may become incredibly complicated.

Addressing Accusations and Defending Against False Claims

There are a number of ways in which nurses lose their licenses or face disciplinary actions. In some instances, the violations are professionally-related, such as when a nurse may fail to maintain charts properly or is accused of negligence in his or her treatment of patients. In other cases, criminal charges that occurred outside of the nurse’s job may impact his or her license. This could include DUI charges or drug-related charges. Unfortunately, addiction is another major issue with nurses, and this can lead to professional complications. Drug diversion, in which nurses mishandle controlled substances, is another offense that is commonly brought up in disciplinary cases.

Each state will address these charges or accusations based on the laws in that jurisdiction. By failing to address the charges, or failing to defend against them, a nurse may complicate his or her future licensing in other jurisdictions. While it may sometimes seem less burdensome for a nurse to make a deal or agreement rather than fighting false allegations, the results of these actions may be extremely complicated.

If you are licensed in multiple states, or have prior licenses, and have faced disciplinary actions in any of those locations, you should speak to a licensing attorney. Contact the seasoned Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Sanger Law today at (785)-979-4353 to discuss your case.

Employer Promises if I Resign, They Will Not Report to Licensing Board: How to Handle Employer Threats

Healthcare professionals may have an employer with whom they do not get along well. In some instances, the situation can get extremely ugly, and the employer may wish to push the employee out of practice. In some instances, the employer may claim that the employee has done something unprofessional or violated their license. The employer then tells the professional, we do not need to bring these accusations to the board, but you have to resign.

Perhaps the issue is a “he said she said” scenario, or maybe there is some basis for the report but the employer is grossly exaggerating. Perhaps the professional simply feels helpless and does not believe it is possible to fight against the allegations.

In many cases, the employee takes the offer and leaves his or her position with an assurance that the employer will not report him or her to the licensing board. The professional may feel saddened by the loss of a job but consoled by the fact that his or her profession and license is still protected.

However, nothing is binding the employer to his or her word, and many people find that they end up facing disciplinary action anyway.

An Employer Cannot be Prevented from Reporting Misconduct

If the employer believed that a person was guilty of any type of misconduct, then that employer has the right to report the person to the licensing board. Reporting professional misconduct would be tricky if people could be coerced into silence. Therefore, the rights of a person to report a violation or suspected violation are protected. In a situation where the report was filed by someone vindictive and with mal intentions, it will be up to the board to make a determination.

While those who feel that they were wrongfully reported by a person who wished to do them harm might think this is worth bringing up to the board, it is important to remember that the board does not care why the complaint was filed. If there is evidence to support the complaint, then the board is obligated to investigate.

Making matters worse for the accused is the fact that the complaint might not come in until months or even years after the event. Memories from the time might be spotty, and evidence might not be available to defend against the allegations.

Fight the Charges, Not the Accuser

If a medical professional’s employer offers to withhold reporting in return for the employee’s resignation, this should not be considered a legitimate offer. When a professional believes that his or her license is in jeopardy because of an error or mistake, the employee needs to address the allegations. An employee who focuses on why an employer made such allegations will be doing him or herself a disservice. No licensing agency will care about bad blood and workplace politics. These agencies will cut to the facts of the allegations, and make their determination based on those facts.

If you believe that your employer or another individual is planning to report you to a professional board, contact a Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney to discuss the allegations. Speaking to an attorney is not an admission that you did anything wrong. Rather, hiring an attorney will indicate that you understand the gravity of the charges and are willing to take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your career. Contact Sanger Law today at (785)-979-4353 to discuss your case.


When Allegations and the Court of Public Opinion Collide

A recent report appearing in the Kansas City Star is troubling on many levels. The report details allegations filed in a lawsuit in which a medical assistant who worked at a medical facility suffered sexual harassment at the hands of a physician employed by the practice. The allegations contained in the complaint, if proven true, are disgusting and disturbing.

The online news article discussing the allegations continued in the lawsuit presumes that the doctor is guilty of the claims and questions why the relevant licensing authorities have not suspended the doctor from practicing medicine. The reporter for the Kansas City Star acknowledged that the doctor, who was the subject of the litigation, remained in good standing with both states in which he held licenses to practice as a medical doctor.

The reporter’s opinion on the matter brings to light a common misconception held by the public, and the reporter does little, if anything, to alter a prevailing opinion. Conversely, the reporter’s opinion is quite clear and feeds fuel on the firestorm created by the story. The reporter holds the opinion the doctor must be guilty because a woman made the allegations and, therefore, the doctor should be suspended from practice immediately irrespective of the whether the licensing authorities have initiated disciplinary proceedings.

The allegations paint a very vivid picture, and the picture is not pretty. The female medical assistant who filed the civil action alleges that the male doctor made sexual advances and touched her in a sexually suggestive way in the office and front of her colleagues. The suit alleges that the management of the medical practice did nothing to defend the woman.

The despicable behavior continued according to the allegations in the suit. The doctor made even more aggressive advances by holding her hips and pressing his body into her buttocks. Another employee saw what transpired, and that person contacted the organization’s Human Resources department and reported the offensive, even criminal behavior.

The physician is not employed by the company any longer. There was no information on whether the police were looking into criminal charges. The female medical assistant did not deserve to be treated that way; no one does. She did the right thing by suing the practice and the doctor.

The writer of the article assumes that the facts alleged are real, and therein lies the problem. What if those allegations are false or exaggerated?  The facts continued in the report appear to be convincing and even compelling. After all, who would go through the hassle of fabricating such vile behavior?

Therein lies the problem strictly from a licensing point of view. The doctor is entitled to defend against these allegations before the licensing authority and in civil court. The licensing authority must find credible evidence before rendering discipline against the doctor. The licensing authorities in issue should not, and cannot, rely solely upon the uncorroborated factual allegations contained in a complaint about money damages as grounds to discipline the doctor.

There are two overarching reasons why licensing authorities cannot rely on the facts contained in a civil action to summarily discipline any professional licensee. First, there is no standard of proof to allegations in a civil complaint. Therefore, the complainant can state whatever she wants without retribution. Also, the doctor has no opportunity to conduct discovery or cross-examine the witnesses bringing the complaint. Second, the doctor has constitutional protections that guarantee a fair hearing. The court of public opinion might disagree. However, professional licensees have a right to have complaints adjudicated by a fair and neutral magistrate. Some might argue that it is putting form over function. Notwithstanding, due process guarantees fair hearings even though the licensee might not deserve it.

Aggressive Defense for Professional Licensees

Missouri Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger provides a vigorous defense to all professional licensees facing discipline in Kansas and Missouri. Call 785-979-4353 to find out more.


Kansas Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses How Kansas Pharmacists’ Association Is Ready And Willing To Help Practitioners Suffering From Substance Abuse

Kansas Pharmacists Association recognizes that pharmacists, like doctors, dentists, and lawyers, are susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. To the uninitiated, learning that a doctor or a pharmacist became addicted to drugs or alcohol sounds incongruent. After all, if anyone should know that abusing drugs is unhealthy, the professionals who understand the effects drugs have on the human body should be at the top of the list of people who would never abuse drugs. Doctors and pharmacists are human and can easily fall into the trappings of drug abuse. Drug abuse can lead to misconduct, malpractice, and even criminal behavior. Kansas professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger has represented numerous individuals facing professional discipline caused by substance abuse.

Pharmacists tend to use the drugs that are available to them rather than purchasing street level narcotics. One pharmacist wrote about his experience with abusing pharmaceutical drugs soon after he commenced his professional career. This pharmacist, Jared Combs from Lexington, KY who is a recovering addict, describes how he suffered for 11 years with an addiction until he finally got help. Mr. Combs stated that he took mood-altering drugs to combat stress in the new profession. He says he’s not alone among pharmacists. Mr. Combs’ research determined that forty-six percent of pharmacists have taken a prescription drug without a prescription. Meanwhile, sixty-two percent of pharmacy students used prescription drugs without a prescription. Finally, twenty percent of practicing pharmacists used prescription drugs without a prescription more than five times in their career. A recent study showed that approximately one out of every seven pharmacists would suffer substance abuse during their lifetime.

Mr. Combs is now a recovering addict. He related that wasting four years of his life and being arrested on two occasions brought a harsh reality upon him. Mr. Combs got clean and sober with the help of the Kentucky Pharmacists Association Recovery Network. Mr. Combs is grateful for the benefit of a second chance.

Kansas Pharmacists Association (KPhA) also has a recovery network dubbed “KsPRN.” The mission statement of KsPRN is to help pharmacists and pharmacy interns recover from substance abuse and mental health problems one step at a time. KsPRN’s goals are succinctly stated. The network’s goals aspire to protect the public and preserve the public trust, provide resources to people who need it, provide pharmacists and interns education on substance abuse, as well as encouraging voluntary participation in the program.  KsPRN encourages participants to seek treatment for their addiction issues and rehabilitate themselves through the program. KsPRN desires to protect the public from pharmacists and interns who cannot perform the necessary functions of a pharmacist. However, the program cannot work unless KsPRN maintains the anonymity of its participants.  KsPRN boasts that many of its participants continue to work while recovering from addiction.

KsPRN offers services related to treating addiction among its members. KsPRN educates pharmacists on prevention of drug dependency and impaired practice, education on how to recognize dependency, referrals to programs and associated costs, as well as help with personal and professional issues. KsPRN’s services are anonymous. Pharmacists’ participation in the program will not be reported to the Kansas Board of Pharmacy unless the pharmacist fails to follow the recommendations put forth by KsPRN.  While KsPRN has not promulgated statistics on recovery, one study showed that eighty-seven percent of pharmacists who entered similar programs completed them successfully and returned to work.  A significant component of the treatment plans involves relapse prevention. Consequently, treatment programs are structured to identify and prevent relapse among participants.

Seek Immediate Help From KsPRN if you are a pharmacist suffering from addiction

Contact Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger if you are facing disciplinary action as a result of your substance abuse. She can help get you get your life back together. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation.

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Reviews Disciplinary Decisions Of the Missouri Dental Board From The Second Half Of 2016

The Missouri Dental Board (the Board) issued five disciplinary decisions in the second half of 2016. Periodically reviewing disciplinary decisions allows a licensee to learn how the governing body decides disciplinary actions. The Board’s decisions have some precedential value to them. Consequently, the Board should try to rule on disciplinary actions consistent with its decisional history. As an ardent advocate for professional licensees in both Missouri and Kansas, Attorney Danielle Sanger carefully scrutinizes disciplinary rulings from licensing boards so she can effectively represent her clients who are facing professional discipline before those tribunals.

A dentist who operated under several Limited Liability Company (LLC) names submitted a joint stipulation of facts as well as a joint disciplinary order. The state of Missouri and the dentist reached a settlement agreement related to allegations made by the state relating to Medicaid Fraud. An investigator from the Board interviewed some of the dentist’s patients and interviewed the dentist. The investigator found billing irregularities and infection control problems. The Board filed a disciplinary action, and the parties reached a settlement. The parties agreed that the dentist could continue to practice provided that the dentist passes a jurisprudence examination within 12 months of the ruling as well as agree to regular meetings with the Board as well as advise healthcare facilities with which the dentist was associated of the Board’s decision.

Another dentist and the Board agreed upon waiving a hearing before the Administrative Hearings Commission as well as the Board and approved a resolution. The Board received a complaint from a pharmacy in Kansas City regarding prescriptions for hydrocodone. The Board employed an investigator to perform a sweep of pharmacies and the dentist’s history of writing prescriptions. The investigator found that the dentist wrote prescriptions for patients who did not require them or a family member of an employee. The dentist claimed the prescriptions were for dental pain, except one prescription. The investigator learned that the dentist diverted the prescriptions to himself. The dentist subsequently admitted having a drug and alcohol problem. He attended treatment programs voluntarily. The parties agreed the dentist should be on probation for five years. The dentist agreed to continue with the Board’s wellness program as well as submit to random drug testing and alcohol screening.

The Board revoked one practitioner’s license. According to the order issued by the Board, the dentist defaulted at the administrative hearing after being duly served with notice to appear. The dentist failed to appear. Additionally, the dentist failed to appear before the Board for a final hearing. Accordingly, the Board entered an order of default and consequently revoked the dentist’s license to practice in Missouri.

In another disciplinary action, the dentist and Board entered into a joint stipulation. The factual allegations involve the dentist prescribing a drug for his wife that was beyond the scope of his practice.  This lead to an additional investigation. The investigator found that the dentist wrote prescriptions that were not properly recorded. Additionally, the investigator found the dentist did not conduct weekly spore testing and did not have sufficient continuing education credits. The dentist rectified the deficiencies in his record keeping. Accordingly, the parties agreed that the dentist should be censured for his failures.

Lastly, a dentist and the Board agreed to a censure when the dentist did not document all prescriptions written for her patients. The prescriptions were either not documented at all or insufficiently documented, thus requiring censure.

Do Not Face Any Disciplinary Board Alone

A professional licensee must not take the threat of disciplinary action lightly. You must consult an experienced and successful professional licensing attorney before even responding to the allegations or an investigator comes to speak to you. Call Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Danielle Sanger at 785-979-4353 if the Board contacted you. Attorney Sanger is dedicated to protecting the livelihood of dentists and other professional licensees in Kansas and Missouri.

Kansas and Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Discusses How Medical Professionals Can Protect Themselves Against Allegations Of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct in the medical profession are never easy to refute. Even if you rebut the allegations thoroughly, the stigma of the claims remain, at least for a little while. Unless one completely disproves the allegations of misconduct, then there will always be a question. As a medical professional, you do not want your employers doubting you, your patients doubting you, or your co-workers questioning you. Take affirmative steps to reduce or even eliminate the chance that someone will accuse you of wrongdoing.

A medical professional has an obligation to act competently at all times. In other words, a nurse, for instance, is competent when the nurse’s conduct meets the standard of care for nurses. Failing to satisfy that level of care is malpractice. Protect yourself against claims of negligence. Obtain physicians’ signatures for every order they make, if feasible. That reduces the chance of miscommunication leading to administering incorrect dosages or subjecting patients to unintended procedures.  Also, be sure to explain the informed consent forms to your patients thoroughly. Failure to explain the informed consent form correctly, accurately and promptly, is malpractice. Getting the patient’s signature, if the patient is competent, ensures that the patient understands the procedure in question and knows the risks of the procedure.

Thorough and complete documentation will also protect against allegations of malpractice. Nurses and other medical personnel must closely and accurately document all of the medical procedures taken, vital signs, medications administered, and other modalities applied. Otherwise, questions could arise as to the treatments given to the patient. Nurses’ notes exist so that you create a history of your patient’s treatment. Also, your notes help you recall what action you took, at what time, and under what circumstances. Good nurses’ notes not only help you remember what you did but why.

Nurses are mandatory reporters of abuse and neglect. Failure or refusal to report physical abuse, mental abuse, or sexual assault of a patient is not only an ethical violation, but it might also be a crime. Do not take unnecessary chances. If you believe your patient is suffering the abuse of any kind, you have an obligation to report it. There are dire consequences if you fail to report the abuse. While you may not desire to cast aspersions on others with whom you work or family members of your patient, you do not have the luxury of turning a blind eye. Make your report promptly and comprehensively.

Medical professional universally have the duty to maintain a patient’s medical information private. There are few exceptions. HIPAA prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. Any questions you have related to HIPAA must be referred to your medical director or some other medical professional charged with enforcing HIPAA rules and regulations at your healthcare facility. Nurses usually have direct control over patient charts and records. Therefore, the nurses attending to patients must guard against disclosure of private and confidential information. Unlawful or unauthorized disclosure can lead to civil liability as well as professional discipline.

Nurses and other medical practitioners should use caution when administering medication.  The nurse should question doses if the order does not appear correct. You, as the nurse, are responsible for overdoses.  You must also make sure that you are giving the right medication to the intended patient with the proper timing as well.  Many mistakes and consequently patient injuries could be avoided if nurses took greater care when administering medications.

Be Diligent With Your Obligations

Kansas and Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger understands the perils nurses and other medical professionals face every day. If you are the subject of an investigation into wrongdoing which could lead to professional discipline, call Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Sanger immediately. She has many years of experience vigorously defending the rights and livelihoods of her clients. Call Attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 to schedule a consultation.

Kansas State Board of Healing Arts and Board of Nursing Collaborate On Pain Management Initiative

In February of 2016, two critical policy-making agencies collaborated to revise their approach to combating opioid addiction in Kansas. Delegates from Kansas’s State Board of Healing Arts and the Board of Nursing met to discuss a proposed redrafting of a “Joint Pain Management Policy.” The draft serves as an attempt to devise pain management plans that address each patient’s individual needs while countenancing and interdicting addictive behavior. The draft purports to expand the health care provider’s role in administering pain medication to impose greater oversight over the patient’s treatment with opioids.  Any health care provider licensed by either Board is now on notice that each respective licensing authority is carefully monitoring narcotics dispensing practices. A breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action. Kansas professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger advises all of her clients to carefully monitor their opioid dispensing practice consistent with a health care provider’s duty of care.

The current Joint Pain Management Policy promulgated by the State Board of Healing Arts and the Board of Nursing was issued in 2002. Since that time, opioid abuse and addiction has spiked to levels heretofore unseen, not only in Kansas but nationwide. Accordingly, the Boards have undertaken the responsibility to craft a new policy that addresses the new reality of opioid addiction. The most recent draft of the policy circulated by the Boards emphasizes appropriate pain management for the individual patient by a team of health care providers. One of the problems facing health care providers today is the treatment of chronic and/or acute pain. The Boards recognize that many patients’ pain is improperly managed due to under- or over-prescription, or ineffective treatment. Because the reporting of symptoms of pain is subjective, the Board strives to balance the appropriate treatment of pain with the specter of drug-seeking and addictive behavior.

The Board proposes that health care providers should be wary of potential drug-seeking behavior. Recognizing the risks and the benefits of opioid prescription is critical to appropriately addressing a patient’s pain management. Health care professionals must be aware of the dangers that inure to long-term opioid use. These complications include addiction and abuse of the medication. Health care providers must understand that a patient may need opioid medication to combat pain and that a request for an increased dose is not necessary a symptom of drug dependency. It is therefore incumbent upon the health care provider to understand the signs of addictive behaviors and address those accordingly.

The draft emphasizes the growing need to investigate health care professionals who “treat pain inappropriately.” While proper investigation is necessary, the draft is very clear that a request for information concerning prescription practices does not equate with a formal complaint. To be sure, the draft stipulates that prior to filing of any allegations the information gathered during the investigation will be subject to peer review and health care providers should not “fear disciplinary actions” if they appropriately manage their patients’ pain.

Interestingly, the draft policy purports to not create a new standard of practice or claim to be a so-called “best practice.” However, the Boards’ stated intention is to delineate practices that are “within the boundaries” of professional practice and is not designed to usurp a health care provider’s judgment exercised consistent with a competent health care provider. Disclaimer notwithstanding, the Boards counsel that patients must be individually assessed for pain level, tolerance, and likelihood of recovery, and that instruments should be used to obtain an objective pain threshold. Additionally, the patient must be evaluated to determine whether the patient is a candidate to abuse prescribed narcotics. The use of baseline testing is recommended. The Board recommends using a written treatment plan and that every patient should have one health care provider who controls prescribing pain medication. The Boards counsel utilizing a written agreement with the patient who will agree to be strictly monitored while on prescribed narcotics.

Whom To Call For Help

Call Kansas professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger if you are under investigation for dispensing pain medication. Despite claims to the contrary, an investigation into your medical practice is never meaningless.  Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney Sanger has the experience to vigorously defend your rights and defend you against allegations of wrong-doing. Call Attorney Sanger today at 789-979-4353 to schedule your free consultation.