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Texas nursing license defense lawyerThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was put in place to protect the private health information of patients in the United States. Sadly, violations and breaches are still far too common – and if one occurs in your practice, it could place your nursing license at risk. Thankfully, by learning and avoiding the most common HIPAA violations, you can decrease your risk of an investigation and subsequent disciplinary action. Learn more, including how an experienced attorney can help protect your nursing license during an investigation with the Texas Board of Nursing (BON).

Technology and HIPAA Violations

The world is becoming increasingly reliant on the digital storage and transmission of information. While, in many ways, that has made it easier to provide prompt, quality care to patients, there is always the risk of a data breach. Information that is transmitted via non-secure methods (i.e. texting vitals over a cellphone or accessing patient records from a home computer) can create cyber-theft opportunities. Lost and stolen devices can be hacked and accessed for information. To protect the information of your patients, nurses are encouraged to use only approved and encrypted sources to transmit information, and all suspected security breaches should be reported and handled promptly.

Employees Are a Common Source of HIPAA Breaches

Employees are one of the most common causes of HIPAA breaches. Some simply are not trained properly and make honest mistakes, such as sharing patient information in a setting where it can be overheard by non-employees. Others may fail to practice their due diligence when asked for information over the phone. Still, there are others who may not understand the severity of their actions, and they may make poor choices in the handling or disclosure of private patient information. To protect your practice, ensure all employees are thoroughly trained on all HIPAA practices and protocols.

Failure to Obtain Proper Authorization

Patients may need to disclose their information to their employer, their child’s school, or another party. Typically, this is done through an authorization of release. Failure to obtain this release prior to releasing information may be considered a breach of HIPAA. If you or an employee is ever unsure as to whether an authorization is required, either ask an upper member of management or obtain the release to be safe.

HIPAA Breaches May Spark a BON Investigation

If you or an employee breaches HIPAA’s rules and regulations, you could face an investigation by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). Should they find evidence that a breach has, in fact, occurred, your license could be at risk of suspension or revocation. Thankfully, an experienced attorney can help protect your license and your right to continue practicing medicine.

With nearly 30 years of experience in the medical-legal arena, Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law, is the firm to call. Dedicated to your best interests, our Texas nursing license defense lawyer will fight for the most favorable outcome possible for your situation. Schedule your free and personalized consultation by calling 512-228-7946 today.

Source:

http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5806757-151/lawsuit-claims-bend-nurse-shared-confidential-medical-records

Texas nursing license defense lawyerHaving your nursing license suspended can place your very livelihood at risk, but it does not have to be forever. You can have it reinstated, once you meet certain conditions. Unfortunately, the process of reinstatement is both complex and time-consuming. Learn how an experienced nursing license defense attorney can help you through it, and how having one on your side can improve your overall chances of a favorable outcome.

Meeting the Conditions of Reinstatement

Before your nursing license can be reinstated, you must meet certain conditions – namely your ability to safely practice. That can mean providing proof of a drug diversion or treatment program after having your license suspended for an addiction, or it might mean taking additional continuing education units (CEUs) to show you have made the effort to rectify any alleged lapses or shortcomings in the care you provided to patients. Keep in mind that there may be more than one requirement and that each case is unique. Speak with an experienced attorney to determine what measures you will need to take before your nursing license can be reinstated.

Attending the Informal Conference

Nurses who have had their license suspended must also go before the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) for an informal conference hearing. Composed of peers in the nursing industry, the BON is the same authority that oversees the licensing of all nurses in the state. They are also responsible for disciplining nurses who have violated the Nursing Practice Act or otherwise compromised patient care or safety. They are also the ones who made the decision to suspend your Texas nursing license, and they will decide if it can or should be reinstated.

Sadly, far too many nurses do not recognize the gravity of their situation – even after a suspension has occurred. They wrongly assume that their peers will understand why a mistake occurred and that they will be empathetic to the challenges that you face in your everyday practice. This simply is not the case. Though the BON is comprised of nurses, their primary concern is to protect the safety of the public, and if they have questions regarding your ability to safely practice medicine, they may not reinstate your license.

How Our Texas Nursing License Defense Lawyer Can Help

Reinstating your license may be a difficult and stressful process, but Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law, can help. Dedicated and experienced, our Texas nursing license defense lawyer can handle all the administrative aspects of your case, and we can represent you in front of the Texas BON to improve your chances of a favorable outcome. Get the help you deserve. Call 512-228-7946 and schedule your free consultation with us today.

Source:

https://www.bon.texas.gov/pdfs/discip_and_compl_courses_and_compl_res/j.pdf

Texas nursing license defense lawyerOf all the errors that nurses make in their practice, those related to medications are some of the most common. Sadly, when a nurse makes such a mistake, it can place their license in jeopardy. Learn how to reduce your risk of medication errors, which can ultimately decrease your chances of an investigation with the Texas Board of Nursing (BON), and discover how an experienced attorney can help protect your nursing license if an error and investigation do occur.

Understanding How Medication Errors Occur

Most medication errors begin with a failure to document or failure to properly document.  Even if the case is truly only a documentation error, the Board raises the allegations to include possible diversion of medications by the nurse. Even though, technically, the Board has the burden of proof, in practical terms the nurse is obligated to try to prove he or she is not a drug abuser!

Another concerning issue is that, when medication errors do occur, hospitals and the BON tend to take a punitive approach. Yet, when looking at the real reason why medication errors occur, it becomes clear that individual practitioners are merely vehicles in a complex and broken system.

As an example, consider an emergency room situation: an unconscious patient is suffering from suspected anaphylactic shock. To save the life of the patient, the doctor gives a verbal order for epinephrine. The nurse who is supposed to administer the medication hears the order, but a sick and screaming baby distracts them, which then causes them to hear the order incorrectly. The patient then receives too much or too little medication, which could place their life at risk.

Communication and distractions are not the only potential causes of medication errors, however. Lack of knowledge about the drug prescribed or how it interacts with other drugs, limited patient history, transcribing errors, and automatic medication dispensing practices that cut out the last safety check are all factors that increase the risk of a medication error. Thankfully, diligent nurses can use a few strategies to reduce their overall risk.

Reducing Your Risk of a Medication Error

Nurses typically have the most contact with patients, and that makes them more prone to medication errors – but it also gives them more power in preventing them. Of course, some strategies do rely on the facility or practitioner (i.e. root-cause analysis, computerized order entry systems, barcoding systems, etc.). However, a nurse can make a difference, even without the support or acknowledgment of his or her superiors and facility. Examples can include:

  • Repeating orders to ensure you heard them correctly;
  • Charting the order at the time it is given;
  • Using handoff strategies when changing shifts;
  • Recognizing which patients have the greatest medication error risk;
  • Follow right patient-right medication-right dose protocol;
  • Take a full patient history to the best of your capabilities in any given situation;
  • Check the order for potential oversights (i.e. prescribing a medication to which the patient is allergic); and
  • Educating new nurses on the protocols and strategies that reduce medication errors.

Dealing with a BON Investigation

Almost all medication errors result in a referral to the Texas BON for investigation. In such situations, nurses are encouraged to protect themselves and their licenses from possible suspension or revocation. Contact Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law, for assistance. Dedicated and experienced, our Texas nursing license defense lawyer can take swift and aggressive action in your case. Call 512-228-7946 to schedule your free consultation today.

Source:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4753984/

Texas nursing license defense lawyerNurses often hold licensure in different states. Some have moved and simply do not want to give up their rights to practice in the other state. Others work for mobile services or at different facilities within the same company. Either way, this multiple-state licensing allows them to practice in several states, all at once. What happens, though, when that nurse is then disciplined in one state? Does it also affect their licensure in other states? Learn more, including what an experienced nursing license defense attorney can do in your Texas Board of Nursing case.

State-by-State Discipline Does Not Eliminate the Risk of Interstate Disciplinary Action

Each state is responsible for its own licensing of its nurses. They are also charged with investigating potential actions and behaviors that could endanger a nurse’s patients or the public, and for carrying out disciplinary actions when warranted. State-by-state handling of licensure does not eliminate interstate communication, however, nor does it eliminate your risk of facing disciplinary action from more than one state at a time.

Also, because nurses are supposed to report any disciplinary action they face in one state to all other states in which they are licensed, one could face additional consequences for not self-reporting. However, timing in such a situation is critical; speak to an experienced attorney before you notify any state board of an investigation or pending disciplinary action from the BON.

Disciplinary Action Can Be Seen by Potential Employers

Even when disciplinary action in one state does not spark action in another, it could affect your ability to obtain future employment in another state. Thanks to technology, employers can easily look up your licensing information to determine if any actions have been taken against you in other states. They can also see why the action was taken, and they may make snap judgments about you, based on the information they find. Thankfully, it is possible to mitigate against such issues, so long as you are proactive about your approach.

Reducing the Risk of Disciplinary Action Before It Happens

You do not have to muddle through a BON investigation alone, nor do you simply have to accept the consequences that they want to dole out. Instead, you can fight back and protect your nursing license – in Texas as well as any other states where you hold licensure – with the help of an experienced Texas nursing license defense lawyer. With nearly 30 years of experience in the medical-legal arena and a commitment to helping you achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your case, Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law, is the firm to trust. Call 512-228-7946 and schedule a free consultation to learn more.

Source:

https://www.ncsbn.org/npa-toolkit.htm

Texas nursing license defense lawyerIn response to the growing opioid epidemic, state and federal agencies are cracking down on all potential medication sources – that includes advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with prescriptive authority. Often targeted by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON), these healthcare professionals are encouraged to proactively protect their license from suspension and revocation.

Is the new prescription monitoring program, which may eventually become mandatory for all APRNs with prescriptive authority for certain controlled substances, a tool that can help with this, as the state claims, or is it yet another way to track and target pain management professionals? History suggests the latter, but if properly informed, APRNs may still be able to use this program to their advantage. Learn more with help from the following information.

The Texas Prescription Monitoring Program

The Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is one of the key points in Senate Bill 305, which proposes an amendment to the Nursing Practice Act. If passed, it would require that APRNs with prescriptive authority for certain controlled substances use the system prior to writing a prescription for barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines, or carisoprodol. The BON says this will cut down on polypharmacy issues and, in turn, enhance safety for the nurses in question - and they are correct, at least in theory. However, there are still risks of which APRNs should be aware. 

Understanding the Potential Risks of the PMP

In an ideal world, the PMP would be only be used as a tool to improve public safety and protect the reputation of outstanding clinicians. Sadly, this may not be the case. If the bill is passed, APRNs may be disciplined for not using the PMP for each prescription written. Alternatively, if an issue arises – such as unauthorized prescriptions being written under an APRN’s specific DEA number – that nurse could be disciplined for not catching the problem him or herself. Another potential issue is that the BON could use the system to monitor and track how many prescriptions you write each month. If you have an influx of new pain management patients, you may be unfairly flagged and targeted for an investigation.

Protecting Your Texas Nursing License from Suspension or Revocation

There are many strategies that nurses can employ to protect their licenses from suspension or revocation, but the most critical is taking preventative measures to ensure you and your practice are ready for an investigation at any given moment. Backed by nearly 30 years of experience in the medical-legal arena, Oscar San Miguel, Attorney at Law, can assist you with implementing such a plan. Our seasoned Texas nursing license defense lawyer can also protect your rights and nursing license, should an investigation ever occur. Secure assistance now. Schedule a free and personalized consultation by calling 512-228-7946 today.

Sources:

http://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/PMP/

http://www.bon.texas.gov/bonnews/articles/article14.asp

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Austin, Texas Professional License Defense Attorney Oscar San Miguel represents clients who are located in Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Fort Worth, Arlington, Amarillo, Lubbock, Brownsville, Laredo, Harlingen, McAllen, Round Rock, Longview, Travis County, Harris County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Bexar County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Cameron County, Nueces County, El Paso County, Potter County, Lubbock County, Grayson County, Collin County and throughout Texas.
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