The California Department of Public Health is responsible for certifying Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) under their Professional Certification Branch, Aide and Technician Certification Section. Certified Nurse Assistants receive certification for a period of 2 years once they have completed certification requirements including a criminal record clearance.

The California Department of Public Health, Professional Certification Branch, Investigation Section investigates all complaints and reports of abuse, neglect, misappropriation, and other types of unprofessional conduct against certified nurse assistants. If a complaint is substantiated, the Department may take disciplinary action against the CAN application or certificate holder.

Disciplinary action includes:

  • Probation in lieu of suspension (diversion)
  • Suspension up to 24 months
  • Denial/revocation of CNA/HHA/CHT certification

In addition, pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 42, Section 483.156(c), a finding of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation may be included on the State Nurse Aide Registry which will prohibit the CNA from being employed by a facility or business that is certified for Medicare and/or Medicaid funding.

California CNA licenses are regulated according to California Health and Safety Code, Section 1337-1338.5.

ARTICLE 9. Training Programs in Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care Facilities [1337.9] states:

The state department shall investigate complaints concerning misconduct by certified nurse assistants and may take disciplinary action pursuant to Section 1337.9.

(b)  The state department shall maintain a registry that includes the certification status of all certified nurse assistants, including the status of any proposed or completed disciplinary actions.

(c)  Long-term health care facilities, as defined in Section 1418, that hire certified nursing assistants shall consult the state department’s registry prior to hiring these individuals or placing them in direct contact with patients.

Section 1337.9 states:

(b) The state department may deny an application for, initiate an action to suspend or revoke a certificate for, or deny a training and examination application for, a nurse assistant for any of the following:

(1) Unprofessional conduct, including, but not limited to, incompetence, gross negligence, unless due to circumstances beyond the nurse assistant’s control, physical, mental, or verbal abuse of patients, or misappropriation of property of patients or others.

(2) Conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, and duties of a certified nurse assistant if the state department determines that the applicant or certificate holder has not adequately demonstrated that he or she has been rehabilitated and will present a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of patients.

(3) Conviction for, or use of, any controlled substance as defined in Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000), or any dangerous drug, as defined in Section 4022 of the Business and Professions Code, or alcoholic beverages, to an extent or in a manner dangerous or injurious to the certified nurse assistant, any other person, or the public, to the extent that this use would impair the ability to conduct, with safety to the public, the practice authorized by a certificate.

(4) Procuring a certified nurse assistant certificate by fraud or misrepresentation or mistake.

(5) Making or giving any false statement or information in conjunction with the application for issuance of a nurse assistant certificate or training and examination application.

(6) Impersonating any applicant, or acting as proxy for an applicant, in any examination required under this article for the issuance of a certificate.

(7) Impersonating another certified nurse assistant, a licensed vocational nurse, or a registered nurse, or permitting or allowing another person to use a certificate for the purpose of providing nursing services.

(8) Violating or attempting to violate, directly or indirectly, or assisting in or abetting the violating of, or conspiring to violate any provision or term of, this article.

If you are convicted of a crime such as a DUI, domestic violence, misuse of a controlled substance etc., your CAN certification will also be impacted:

(e) A plea or verdict of guilty, or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere shall be deemed a conviction within the meaning of this article. The state department may deny an application or deny, suspend, or revoke a certification based on a conviction as provided in this article when the judgment of conviction is entered or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence.

If you are a California Certified Nurse Assistant who has been charged with a crime or is facing possible suspension, revocation of your certification or who has had your certification application denied, you should contact an experienced licensing lawyer immediately. An experienced licensing and criminal defense attorney who understands how to both handle your criminal case and defend your professional CNA certification will allow you to continue to practice your profession and also defend your career and your livelihood.

The Law Offices of Lucy S. McAllister have successfully represented and defended a wide range of California nurses and nurse assistants. We are experienced in handling all types of board and certification authority accusations and licensing issues as well as criminal cases. Let us help you protect your professional certification, your reputation, and your livelihood.

For additional information or to schedule a consultation, please contact our law offices today at (877) 280-9944.