Disciplinary Process

The Disciplinary Process – Nurse License Defense Before the Kentucky Board of Nursing and the Ohio Board of Nursing

The nursing board disciplinary process in Kentucky and Ohio generally begins with a complaint filed with the nursing board from an employer or former employer, a patient, family member of a patient, co-worker, pharmacy, hospital, law enforcement, administrative agency, or self-report

The nurse is typically notified of a grievance or complaint via letter or phone call from the nursing board. If the nurse has retained a nurse license defense attorney to defend his or her license, board staff is prohibited from directly questioning or communicating with the nurse. Accordingly, for all the reasons set forth on our Nurse Licensing & Defense page (including working proactively to prevent an investigation from becoming a formal board complaint requiring litigation) it is imperative for a nurse to hire a nurse license defense attorney immediately upon learning that he or she is under investigation by the Kentucky Board of Nursing or the Ohio Board of Nursing.

The Nursing Board investigator gathers evidence regarding the allegations by interviewing witnesses and obtaining records and other documentation. Our nurse licence defense attorneys proactively defend your nursing license by filing written responses to the complaint, discussing the matter and sharing evidence with nursing board investigators and attorneys, meeting with nursing board investigators and attorneys, reviewing all evidence in the possession of the board of nursing, highlighting flaws in the evidence, setting forth the nurses position clearly for nursing board members to understand and engaging in many other proactive steps to avoid bring about a favorable resolution to the investigation without discipline or litigation.

Once the investigation is complete, the information and evidence is provided to nursing board members for review. Our nurse license defense attorneys handling of an investigation has resulted in many investigations drawing to a close favorably without discipline or litigation. However, if the Kentucky Board of Nursing or the Ohio Board of Nursing believes discipline in necessary to resolve an investigation, it may issue a formal Board Complaint initiating litigation or tender an offer of settlement.

If the Nursing Board offers to settle the matter, we strongly urge you to consult with a nurse license defense attorney before signing it if you did not retain a lawyer at the onset of the investigation. You need to be confident that you understand all the ramifications of the agreement you are signing, as well as whether it is the best agreement you could obtain under the facts of the case. The agreement may be scrutinized by other licensing agencies and potentially by law enforcement. This can result in unanticipated consequences, such as restrictions on or loss of other state nursing licenses or criminal charges. In addition, the Nursing Board will forward agreed orders or consent decrees to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Elder & Good attorneys review many proposed settlement agreements, often negotiating a more favorable agreement or candidly advising a nurse to sign it. On those occasions, the nurse has the peace of mind that he or she entered into a favorable agreement or, in the alternative, entered into the best agreement possible under the facts of the case.  Of course, there are instances in which we advise a nurse not to sign an agreement.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a formal disciplinary hearing on the matter will be scheduled. In the event the nursing board believes that a nurse poses a threat to patients or the public, it also may impose an emergency restriction or suspension on his or her nursing license. If that happens, the nurse has a right to challenge the restriction or suspension by requesting a formal hearing to have the restriction or suspension overturned or modified until the final hearing on the underlying complaint.

When a formal Board hearing is scheduled, we coordinate with the hearing officer to formulate a discovery schedule in order to ensure that the nurse has ample time to review all the evidence related to the particular case. Depending on the case, this may include obtaining copies of all patient charts at issue, MARS & Omnicell records, witness statements, expert reports drafted by board consultants, KASPER and OARRS reports, pharmacy records, law enforcement records, incriminating letters, emails, text messages, photographs, audio or video tapes and any other relevant evidence.

Elder & Good nurse license defense attorneys also ensure that all pre-hearing deadlines are met in a timely manner. For example, a hearing officer will require expert reports, witness lists, exhibit lists, pre-hearing motions and other evidence to be exchanged by certain dates prior to a scheduled hearing. If the deadlines are not met, the hearing officer may exclude the nurse from presenting favorable witnesses or evidence at a hearing. In addition, we attend all pre-hearing conferences with the hearing officer and Nursing Board attorney, file appropriate pre-hearing motions and subpoena all necessary documents and witnesses. In cases where expert testimony may assist the nurse, or prove to be crucial, we secure reputable and respected to review the pertinent records and information.

The main goal of our nurse license defense attorneys is to provide comprehensive and effective nurse license defense so you can continue in your career. We have obtained favorable rulings from hearing officers and courts of law for nurses whose nurse licenses were in jeopardy.  In addition, our diligent nurse license defense and effective advocacy often result in favorable negotiated settlements.

Elder & Good nurse license defense attorneys are here to defend your nursing license before the Kentucky Board of Nursing and the Ohio Board of Nursing.