There are lots of things you can look forward to in the mail – birthday cards, paychecks, that cool thing you just ordered from Amazon. But if you are a nurse in Illinois, an unexpected envelope from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is not one of them. There’s a good chance that the envelope contains either a complaint which a patient has lodged against you and/or a notice that you are under investigation for alleged violations of your professional obligations.
Whether you are a Registered Professional Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), don’t panic if that envelope does come and make sure you avoid these other IDFPR “don’ts” as well. But you’d rather not get such potentially devastating news in the first place.
In addition to the many bases for disciplinary action that are related to the performance of your duties as a nurse, there are also many ways to get in trouble related to your duties to the IDFPR. The IDFPR does not like being ignored, lied to, or denied information relevant to your license and professional history. Here are three ways your interactions with the IDFPR can lead them to threaten your ability to continue practicing:
- Ignoring the IDFPR. Burying your head in the sand is the worst possible thing you can do if and when the IDFPR contacts you. You are subject to discipline if you:
- Fail, within 90 days, to provide a response to a request for information in response to a written request made by the IDFPR by certified mail.
- Fail to report to the IDFPR any final disciplinary action taken against you by another licensing jurisdiction, any peer review body, any health care institution, any professional or nursing society or association, any governmental agency, any law enforcement agency, or any court or a nursing liability claim related to acts or conduct similar to acts or conduct that would constitute grounds for action as defined in this Section.
- Fail to report to the IDFPR your surrender of a license or authorization to practice nursing or advanced practice nursing in another state or jurisdiction.
- Failing, within 60 days, to provide information in response to a written request made by the Department.
- Burying bad news. If you are disciplined in another jurisdiction, you need to report that to the IDFPR. They say the cover up is always worse than the crime, so make sure that you:
- Report to the IDFPR any final disciplinary action taken against you by another licensing jurisdiction, any peer review body, any health care institution, any professional or nursing society or association, any governmental agency, any law enforcement agency, or any court or a nursing liability claim related to acts or conduct similar to acts or conduct that would constitute grounds for action as defined in this Section.
- Report to the IDFPR your surrender of a license or authorization to practice nursing or advanced practice nursing in another state or jurisdiction.
- Lying. Period. You lie or intentionally deceive the IDFPR, you will lose your license; it’s just that simple. Specifically:
- Material deception in furnishing information to the Department.
- Fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in procuring or applying for a renewal of your license.
- Attempting to subvert or cheat on a licensing examination.
- The use of any false, fraudulent, or deceptive statement in any document connected with your practice.
- Willfully making or filing false records or reports in your practice, including but not limited to false records to support claims against the medical assistance program of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (formerly Department of Public Aid) under the Illinois Public Aid Code.
In addition to your communications directly with the IDFPR, your communications to the world at large through social media can put your license at risk. What you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms can be used as evidence against you in any disciplinary action brought by the IDFPR. Depending on what you post, you social media use can itself be a basis for discipline if it violates patient confidentiality, reflect immoral conduct relating to your practice, or otherwise violates any other basis for discipline as set forth in the Illinois Nurse Practice Act.
Louis R. Fine: Chicago Nursing License Defense Attorney
If you’re a licensed Illinois nurse, the moment you are contacted by IDFPR or learn that you are under investigation is the moment that you should contact me. I will immediately begin communicating with IDFRP prosecutors and work with you to develop the strategy best suited to achieving the goal of an efficient, cost-effective outcome that avoids any adverse action. Together, we will protect your license and get you back to your patients and your career.
Please give me a call at (312) 236-2433 or fill out my online form to arrange for your free initial consultation. I look forward to meeting with you.