Case Result: Evaluator Was in No Position to Assess Whether APRN Violated Practice Act; Case is Dismissed

Professional:
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

Primary issue:
Client APRN’s employer had complained about the APRN’s tardiness and performance issues at work. The employer believed the APRN was impaired and claimed to have noticed “track marks” on the APRN’s arms and reported it to IPN. The APRN insisted there were no such track marks and was not an IV drug user. Once referred to IPN, the APRN submitted to an evaluation. All of the APRN’s drug tests, including a hair test, came back with negative results. Despite no clinical evidence of a substance abuse disorder, the evaluator concluded that the APRN must be lying about their circumstances, and that they are an intravenous drug user. The APRN then rejected IPN and subsequently got a letter of investigation from the Department of Health (DOH), which included accusations of impairment.

Argument:
We collected mitigating evidence and immediately provided a response to the DOH. In it, we attacked the credibility of the IPN evaluator and accused the evaluator of putting aside clinical judgment to “play detective.” An evaluator’s responsibility, we contended, is that of medical professional whose role is to assess impairment, not that to assess whether a practitioner violated the Practice Act. We asserted that this evaluator was overstepping their role and scope.

Result:
The Probable Cause Panel dismissed the case without any finding, and the APRN is free to practice without any consequences on their license or any record of an investigation.

Areas of Law:
Healthcare Licensing
Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN)
Professional Licensing Defense
Substance Abuse & Impaired Practitioners

Disclaimer:
This information is a sample of our past results. Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results. Every case is different and each case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits. The circumstances of your case may differ from the results provided. The information provided has not been reviewed or approved by the State Bar.

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Case Lawyers

Sarasota Office
6841 Energy Court
Sarasota, FL 34240
Phone: (941) 893-3449

Lauren A. Leikam

Senior Attorney

Sarasota Office
6841 Energy Court
Sarasota, FL 34240
Phone: (941) 893-3449

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