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Are you being investigated as a nurse for making misrepresentations?

October 22, 2015
Est read time: 4 minutes

Have you received an administrative complaint against your nursing license for making misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations related to the practice of the nursing profession or employing a trick or scheme to do the same? If you have, it is very important that you contact an experienced health care attorney to go over the charges. These charges are serious and can have a negative impact on your license and your ability to practice nursing in Florida.

The law

The law states that is a violation of law to make misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations related to the practice of the licensee’s profession or making those type of representations about any profession. Employing a trick or scheme related to the practice of that profession is a violation as well. The Florida law on point here is Florida Statute 456.072(1)(a) and (m). The statutes in particular say the following:

(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be taken:

(a) Making misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of the licensee’s profession.

(m) Making deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of a profession or employing a trick or scheme in or related to the practice of a profession.

What is important to note here is that the statute covers not only making a misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representation in or related to practicing of your profession, but it also covers making those types of representations about other professions in addition to those that are untrue. Employing a trick or scheme related to the practice of a profession is also a violation. If you have had complaints made against your license for violation of this statute, you should contact an experienced health care attorney immediately to go over your options. There can be severe repercussions for you if you wait.

Penalties

There are a range of actions that can be taken against you should the board of nursing decide to take disciplinary action against you. The penalties you could face are found in the Disciplinary Guidelines for the Board of Nursing, particularly in Rule 64B9-8.006 in the Florida Administrative Code. The rule states the following for disciplinary guidelines for violation of the statute:

 MINIMUM:MAXIMUM:
FIRST OFFENSE:Reprimand and $250 fine$10,000 fine and suspension

 

SECOND OFFENSE:$500 fine and suspension$10,000 fine and revocation

The minimum penalty you could face for a violation of the statute is a reprimand and $250 fine. The penalties can get very severe after that. It is possible that you could face a $10,000 fine and be suspended from practicing nursing for a set period of time. It is also possible that, in addition to the $10,000 fine, your license could be revoked if you are found to have violated the statute a second time. This is very serious. You should also be aware that these are guidelines that the board should follow in handing out discipline, but are not set in stone, and can be accompanied by other penalties or deviated from. These penalties can be found in Florida Statute 456.072(2), which you should review with your health care attorney.

Aggravating/Mitigating Circumstances

The board hearing your case can take into account various factors that could affect the discipline you receive. These factors are called aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances are factors that can hurt your case. If aggravating circumstances are proven you could face harsher penalties. Mitigating circumstances are factors that can help your case. If mitigating circumstances are proven you could face lesser penalties. These factors can also be found in rule 64B9-8.006(5)(b) in the Florida Administrative Code. If either side can prove with clear and convincing evidence the aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the discipline you face could be altered by the board. Here are the factors:

(b) Circumstances which may be considered for purposes of mitigation or aggravation of penalty shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The danger to the public.
  2. Previous disciplinary action against the licensee in this or any other jurisdiction.
  3. The length of time the licensee has practiced.
  4. The actual damage, physical or otherwise, caused by the violation.
  5. The deterrent effect of the penalty imposed.
  6. Any efforts at rehabilitation.
  7. Attempts by the licensee to correct or stop violations, or refusal by the licensee to correct or stop violations.
  8. Cost of treatment.
  9. Financial hardship.
  10. Cost of disciplinary proceedings.

The board can take into account any of these factors, or other factors, in your hearing. The board can deviate from the standard disciplinary guidelines if they find that any of these aggravating or mitigating circumstances exist. These are very important factors that you should discuss with your health care attorney.

Conclusion

If you are a licensed health care professional in Florida and have received an administrative complaint for violation of the statutes, you are probably concerned about how this may affect your license.  To set up a FREE no obligation consultation with Jeff Howell contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong, Attorneys at Law at 850-877-7776.  We represent licensed health care professionals and facilities statewide, including out of state clients who are concerned about the status of their Florida license.

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Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE no-obligation consultation. Our firm represents physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other licensed professionals statewide.
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