Lorie Brown, Nurse Attorney, discusses the Office of the Inspector General Exclusion List. She explains what it is, how it affects your nursing license and your ability to practice with Medicare/Medicaid patients. She also discusses what will get you on the List, tips to stay off the List, and the difference between mandatory and permissive exclusions. For more information read Lorie’s article at: https://yournurseattorney.com/medicaremedicaid-exclusion-list/
As we in California are in the midst of the wildfire season, hospitals are preparing for power outages. When there is a wildfire in the area of a hospital, the power companies often plan to cut electricity to prevent more damage from the fires.
California law requires hospitals to have backup generators for critical care operations. However, a prolonged blackout can make it difficult. Also, of concern is people in homes who need medical equipment since a power outage could be catastrophic for someone requiring electricity generated equipment.
In fact, after a power outage in Florida during Hurricane Irma in 2017, 12 nursing home patients lost their lives due to the absence of electricity. As temperatures soared, they became overheated. Now the nurses and administrator there are facing criminal charges.
It is sad that the nurses are having to defend themselves in this matter as they work at the facility under adverse conditions while helping people in the middle of a hurricane rather than focusing on keeping themselves safe. They, along with other facility staff, rely on their facility to provide the necessary equipment and services for them to properly care for their patients. It will be interesting to see what happens from this.
Although it is tragic that these patients died, the Florida nursing home itself should have been required to have a backup generator to protect the health and safety of their residents. Laws should be in place to make sure our most vulnerable population is protected.
You may want to check with your facility to learn if you work in an area where a natural disaster could occur to make sure that it has adequate supplies, equipment and backup generators to take care of these patients and hospital staff.
Nurse Attorneys, Lorie Brown and Todd Ess of Brown Law Office, P.C., discuss the consequences of criminal matters on a Nurse’s license, this also includes other healthcare providers such as Physicians, Pharmacists, etc. The discussion not only includes matters before the Board of Nursing, but pleading guilty to a felony, accepting a diversion, as well as the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Exclusion List.
In a recent court case Stubblefield v. Morristown-Hamblen Hospital Association, where a patient underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure and was on a nitroglycerine drip, the patient begged the nurse to stop the nitroglycerine drip because of nausea and headache. The nursing staff refused and continued the drip. The doctor was never notified. It was later discovered that the patient had developed a hematoma and pseudoaneurysm in the groin and had to be taken to surgery to repair her femoral artery, no doubt due to vasodilation of the blood vessel from the nitroglycerine.
The patient brought a lawsuit against the facility and the nurse alleging battery and failure to properly assess the patient’s groin. The Plaintiff had hired a nurse expert witness to say it was below the standard of care to not abide by the patient’s wishes and notify the physician and failing to properly assess the groin area. However, the nurse expert received a phone call threatening that if she testified, she will lose her job.
There was what’s called a summary judgment proceeding which means if the Plaintiff/patient does not have an expert, the case will be dismissed.
Since the nurse expert had to withdraw at the last minute due to threat of loosing her job, they did not have an expert and the judge dismissed the case. However, the Court of Appeals recognized the witness intimidation of the threat to lose her job and sent the case back to the trial court for further review.
The point of this story is that if you are a witness in a medical malpractice case or choose to serve as an expert, it is important to tell the truth and if you feel you are being coerced or threatened or manipulated in any way, tell someone.
These tactics only serve to pollute our criminal justice system which is one of the best in the world. You may or may not agree with malpractice cases but that is why we have our legal system in place for a jury of our peers to decide these issues.
I’m curious as to whether you’ve been subject to witness intimidation and what did you do about it. I’d love to hear your comments below.
It is unusual for a matter before the Nursing Board to find its way into the court system primarily because of the cost. Recently, in Pennsylvania, one case did exactly that and wound up in court brought by an LPN.
In this particular case an LPN was charged on July 16, 2014 with 3 counts of drug related offenses and a count of disorderly conduct. To the charge of disorderly conduct, she entered a nolo contendere plea where a guilty plea is entered but the Defendant does not admit to the crime. She pled nolle prossed to the other 3 charges which means they were dismissed.
The LPN denied engaging in these types of behaviors but the Board believed the court documents and suspended her license for a period of 6 months. The National Council State Board of Nursing for the years 1996 through 2006, collected information showing 126,130 (more nurses than tin the entire state of Indiana!) actions were taken against nurses. 13% consisted of suspension and 7% consisted of revocation. Suspension is the second most common taken action. Probation was the most common Board action taken.
But what is interesting about this particular case is that the Board based the suspension on the conviction of a crime of moral turpitude which is an active behavior that gravely violates the sentiment of accepted standard of the community. However, the Court of Appeals stated that it was not a crime of moral turpitude and disagreed with the Board’s interpretation.
In my limited experience with these types of appeals before a court, this is a great result! I would love to see more people question the Board and appeal their actions to a regular court so that the Board can stay in check. Unfortunately, these kinds of matters are very expensive to pursue. The Boards have unbridled authority to do what they wish … and this needs to stop! This was an LPN who appealed the decision and I am so glad that the court agreed with her.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.