Kathy Lynch and Karen Dunning, nurse practitioners and owners of Kouts Health Care Clinic, were accused of illegally issuing weight loss drugs to their patients and 27 counts of felony charges were filed against them. Because of the multiple felony charges regarding prescribing practices, the Indiana State Board of Nursing placed their licenses on emergency suspension. Both had prescribed Phentramine, a schedule IV controlled substance and Phendimetrazine, a schedule III controlled substance.
Of the 27 counts in the indictment, all felonies, 11 were dismissed by the prosecutor prior to trial.
The trials for the nurse practitioners were separated with that of Ms. Lynch going first. At the conclusion of her trial, she was found not guilty on all 16 counts. However, her license, which had been suspended in March 2015, remained on suspension due to the litigation. Even though she was not found guilty of a criminal matter in the criminal trial, the Indiana State Board of Nursing has the authority to decide, based on the evidence that it reviews, whether or not to charge these nurses.
When criminal matters are pending, especially high-level felonies that may potentially cause injury to the public, the Board may consider the nurse to be a clear and immediate danger to the public and place her license on emergency suspension.
I am sure you can imagine how devastating it can be to have your license suspended for over a year and spend thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
Unfortunately, when the criminal matters are resolved, the licensing Board can still address the same issues and there is a lower standard of proof.
These are very difficult situations, as many times nurses in these scenarios do not have the financial means to fight such charges and to save their license.
If you ever find yourself in such a situation, get a criminal attorney and listen to the advice you are given!
Always keep in mind that should you plead guilty to any crime, and even later found innocent, the matter still could be viewed adversely by the Board of Nursing.