Many California nurses hold multiple professional licenses. For example, a Registered Nurse may also have and licensed vocational nurse (LVN), travel nurse or certified nurse assistant (CAN) license in addition to her or his RN license. This gives the nurse additional flexibility in part time and full-time work across more facilities and locations. But what happens if you are investigated by the BRN in California as the result of a complaint by a patient or colleague?
As a nurse, in order to avoid having to defend yourself and go through the BRN’s investigatory process, you might decide to surrender your registered nursing license and just use one of your other licenses while working in California. But this creates multiple issues, risks and problems for you as a healthcare provider, both short term and longer term. This is effectively the same outcome as having your nursing license revoked by the BRN.
Why is this?
Because a nurse surrendering her RN license will be automatically placed on the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) Federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) List of Excluded Individuals/Entities as well as the California Medi-Cal Program’s Suspended and Ineligible Provider List.
GETTING PLACED ON THE OIG AND MEDI-CAL PROVIDER EXCLUSION LISTS
Being listed on either the OIG or Medi-Cal Provider Exclusion lists precludes a nurse from working in any facility that receives Federal Medicare or State Medi-Cal funding. If you surrender ANY of your California nursing licenses, you will not be able to work under ANY license in the healthcare field. This includes jobs for nurses in non-clinical (administrative) as well as in clinical roles. Healthcare facilities receiving Medicare and Medi-Cal funds are prohibited from employing individuals on the ineligible provider lists and face sanctions and fines if they do.
In California, Medi-Cal law, Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I Code), sections 14043.6 and 14123, mandate that the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) suspend a Medi-Cal provider of health care services (provider) from participation in the Medi-Cal program when the individual or entity has:
- Lost or surrendered a license, certificate, or approval to provide health care; or
- Been convicted of a felony or been convicted of a misdemeanor involving fraud, abuse of the Medi-Cal program or any patient, or otherwise substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a provider of service;
- Been suspended from the federal Medicare or Medicaid programs for any reason;
- Breached a contractual agreement with the Department that explicitly specifies inclusion on this list as a consequence of the breach.
A nurse who has violated the Nursing Practice Act by one of these “triggers”, will have his or her license automatically suspended. They will also not be entitled to an Administrative Hearing under the California Administrative Procedures Act.
APPEALING A LISTING ON THE OIG OR MEDI-CAL HEALTHCARE PROVIDER EXCLUSION LISTS
Any nurse who wishes to appeal their listing on the OIG and Medi-Cal exclusion lists can do so, however to get off the Medi-Cal list, you must first get off the OIG list. This is a complex and lengthy process and often requires getting your RN license reinstated with the BRN.
If you are a California nurse facing an Accusation and are being investigated by the BRN, with the help of an experienced attorney, it is MUCH easier to defend your RN license against the Accusation than it is to get your revoked license reinstated so you can get yourself off of the OIG and Medi-Cal exclusion lists.
Having worked so hard for your California nursing license, you should do everything possible to make sure you keep it, to protect your livelihood and career and to maintain your professional reputation. A disciplinary action by the BRN or another investigating agency or regulatory board is a serious threat to your ability to practice nursing, short term and longer term. You need an experienced advocate and legal strategist on your side.
The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented a wide range of California licensed nurses and we are experienced in handling all types of BRN licensing accusations and licensing issues in addition to criminal charges. Let us help you protect and defend your California nursing license so that you can continue to practice the profession which you love.
For additional information or to schedule a consultation on a nursing licensing issue, please contact our law offices today at (877) 280-9944.