Professionals Resource Network (PRN)

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What is the Florida Impairment Program for Licensed Health Care Providers All About? Our Florida Healthcare Lawyers Explain What Medical Professionals Need to Know

Health professionals, like anyone else, are susceptible to substance abuse, emotional health problems and mental disorders.

Yet, when a health professional is viewed as impaired — whether in their private life or professional practice — there is an assumption that the impairment adversely affects their ability to practice their chosen profession.

The Professionals Resource Network (PRN) provides evaluation and treatment to impaired practitioners on behalf of the state of Florida. By utilizing PRN, the state of Florida seeks to “protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, while at the same time supporting the integrity of the healthcare professionals.”

For some, PRN Florida is mandatory. For others, it is voluntary and often suggested by an employer or the licensing board as a way to avoid licensing action.

However, PRN is not the only option for resolving impairment allegations. The key is to consult a Florida health care lawyer as soon as possible, ideally before reporting of the violation, to prepare a defense and negotiate options before licensing action commences and PRN Florida is made mandatory.

Will PRN Protect Your License?

Many practitioners mistakenly believe that PRN Florida is intended to protect the practitioner’s license.

It is not — it is to protect the public.

PRN Florida is a good program for practitioners who have serious substance abuse or mental health problems. However, practitioners with one-time incidents of impairment (i.e., drug diversionDUI, positive drug screen) are often caught up in the broad net cast by a referral to PRN Florida.

These non-impaired practitioners would obtain little to no benefit from the time, expense and work limitations placed on them if they were required to enter PRN Florida.

The Untold Truth About PRN

Practitioners often contact PRN because of fear that they will face formal licensing action if they do not report to PRN Florida. However, what many practitioners do not know is that:

  • A multiyear monitoring agreement with PRN could still result in licensing action.
  • It can be very expensive and difficult to maintain the often intrusive requirements that PRN imposes on practitioners.
  • Practitioners will be labeled “impaired” and will likely have difficulties finding and maintaining employment in the future.

These reasons are why practitioners should not contact PRN Florida without first discussing their options with an attorney. Our Florida health care attorneys at Chapman Law Group fight allegations of impairment and strive to find a solution that allows a practitioner to continue to practice, without unnecessary monitoring and without the practitioner being labeled “impaired.”

PRN Referrals

Accusations of, or behaviors indicating, substance abuse or mental health problems can result in a practitioner being referred to PRN Florida. These accusations come from various sources — among them, employers, hospitals, competitors, or graduate medical education program supervisors.

Occasionally, complaints against practitioners come from disgruntled family members, terminated employees, or former patients looking for some form of retribution.

Impaired practitioners who realize they need help may also self-refer to PRN.

If a practitioner answers “yes” to questions on his/her license application indicating a possible impairment issue, the licensing board will frequently refer that practitioner to PRN Florida for evaluation and, if needed, a contract.

It is crucial that you fully understand the implications that a PRN referral can have on your professional license(s) and career. If you are referred to PRN, you should contact a Florida healthcare attorney at Chapman Law Group before you contact PRN Florida to schedule an evaluation. 

Sara Bazzigaluppi, one of Chapman Law Group’s Florida-based regulatory and licensing healthcare defense attorneys, discusses IPN and PRN with Chapman Law Group founder Ronald W. Chapman Sr.

PRN Evaluations and Contracts

After you contact PRN Florida, they will arrange for you to be evaluated. If a PRN evaluation determines you are impaired, you will be required to sign a monitoring/advocacy contract. Most of the PRN contracts are for five years.

If you do not agree to enter into a contract with PRN, thereby refusing their recommendations, you will be reported to the Department of Health (DOH) for disciplinary action.

Many practitioners are unaware that PRN monitoring contracts may be negotiable. Our Florida health care attorneys are experienced with helping practitioners negotiate PRN contracts, and we can help reduce the level of monitoring and  length of time monitoring is required by the contract.

Participation in the Professionals Resource Network

Participation in PRN Florida is usually confidential, except you must inform your employer that you are enrolled in the program.

While you participate and comply with the terms of your PRN agreement, the DOH and licensing boards will not take action against you. But if you become non-compliant with the terms of your PRN agreement, state law requires the PRN to refer your case to the DOH for disciplinary action.

Chapman Law Group represents individuals who have violated their PRN contracts and as a result risk an emergency suspension or an action against their license.

Modifications to PRN Contracts

Practitioners frequently seek advice on whether they can successfully obtain an early release from or an adjustment to their PRN contracts. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get released from a PRN contract without subsequent penalties after you have already enrolled.

Because of this, you should be very cautious before you even agree to be evaluated by PRN Florida. We encourage you to contact our Florida healthcare attorneys to answer your questions and advise you on things to consider, including possible alternatives to PRN.

The Florida Healthcare Attorneys at Chapman Law Group: Your Advocates in PRN Matters

In some cases, we at Chapman Law Group are able to help practitioners avoid PRN and avoid formal licensing action. Talk to our attorneys at our Miami and Sarasota offices, so we may review your situation.

Each Florida healthcare lawyer in our professional licensing defense practice group works with physicians, nurses, pain management clinics, pharmacists and other licensed healthcare professionals. We serve Florida clients across the state, from West Palm Beach to Orlando, from Tampa/St. Petersburg to Tallahassee, and from Jacksonville to Gainesville. 

Call us today for a consultation.

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