Best Legal Advice for Nurse Practitioners in 2016

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating and are looking forward to what 2017 has to bring. I'm enjoying a Hawaiian vacation to kick off the year, so I'm off to a good start so far! I watched the ball drop, Mai Tai in hand, in the second to last time zone to cling on to 2016. If you could use a few good reads to ring in the New Year, check out our most popular legal posts for nurse practitioners from the past 12 months. 

1. Nurse Practitioner Non-Competes: Are They Enforceable?

The process of negotiating an employment contract can be extremely complicated for a nurse practitioner. Not only are you concerned with outlining the scope of your practice, including the duties and expectations of your employment, but you are also carefully considering and restrictive covenants within the contract, such as non-compete or non-solicitation provisions. This article will provide a brief overview on the enforceability of these covenants as they pertain to nurse practitioners. Continue Reading...

2. What is the OIG Exclusion List, and How Could it Affect Your Practice?

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services maintains a list of healthcare providers who are excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal health care programs. This list is known as the “List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE)” and it is a BIG DEAL for the healthcare providers who unfortunately find themselves on this list. Inclusion on the list seriously prohibits a provider’s ability to treat patients, as well as their ability to obtain employment opportunities. For what actions or events will a healthcare provider find themselves on the OIG Exclusion List? Continue Reading...

3. Nurse Practitioners + Delegating: What's Your Liability Risk?

As healthcare providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians alike, are legally liable for the manner in which patient care tasks are delegated, the quality of care delivered as a result, and the outcome of such care. Ultimately, if your name is on a patient's chart, as a nurse practitioner, you are at least partially responsible for the care of that patient. Responsibility for actions or interventions performed by another staff member can still fall on you. Continue Reading...

4. Don't Lose Your Job, Too: The NP Disciplinary Process and Your Employer

Very few nurse practitioners face disciplinary action from a state board of nursing, but for those who do, the implications can be serious. From losing face professionally to losing a job or even a license to practice, the consequences of noncompliance with professional, prescribing, or scope of practice guidelines are career changing. They way NPs handle an allegation or investigation into their practice often dictates the outcome. Continue Reading...

5. Are Preceptors Liable for the Actions of Nurse Practitioner Students?

Even under the supervision of an experienced clinical preceptor, mastering procedures, making diagnoses, and treating medical conditions inherently carries risk. If you have volunteered to precept a nurse practitioner student, can you be held liable for the NP student's actions? In short, yes. Continue Reading...

6. Which NP Specialties Have the Highest Malpractice Risk?

Similar to physicians, as healthcare providers, nurse practitioners face the risk of medical malpractice. A missed diagnosis, for example, can have serious consequences for a patient leaving the NP legally liable. There are few studies out there specifically looking at malpractice as it relates to nurse practitioners. The data that does exist, however, is interesting and can give you important insight into your practice. Nurse practitioners working in certain specialties, for example, are more likely to face malpractice lawsuits than others. Continue Reading...

7. Non-Solicitation Clause: Is One Hiding in Your Employment Agreement?

I’ve mentioned before, that thinking through how your nurse practitioner job will end is perhaps even more important than negotiating how it will begin. As you review any employment agreement, it’s imperative that you consider the implications of restrictive covenants like non-compete clauses. Such terms limit how and where you can practice when you leave the employer in question. Continue Reading...

8. 'Tis the Season? Severance Agreements for Nurse Practitioners

For those unfamiliar, severance agreements are often offered by companies to existing employees to ensure a collegial transition into unemployment or into a new job position.  Of importance, employers are not required to present employees with a severance package, unless otherwise contractually obligated. Tis the season for gifts, but keep in mind — this gift has strings. Severance packages are almost always accompanied by releases of certain rights. Continue Reading...

What legal advice did you find most helpful for nurse practitioners in 2016?

 

Comments

I will not read anything nor subscribe to any journals that use terms such as mid level provider , non physician provider etc. As a RN/NP, I believe clarity of titles are important so use correct terms - NP , PA , MD , DO nurse practitioner , physician , physician assistant, registered nurse etc . Continuing to use terms that HIDE the profession is not ok . Unless turn about is fair play such as non NP provider , non RN professional .

- MLP

What happens when a nurse practitioner is successfully sued for malpractice or.settles a case? Do they find it hard to find employment? Do they lose their jobs?

- Sue

Hi Sue, 

This would depend on the circumstances of the case. If the nurse practitioner is a fault, the Board of Nursing may in turn revoke or suspend the NP's license to practice. If the case was not serious or did not lead to a negative outcome, it would be less likely to affect the nurse practitioner's ability to practice. 

The same holds true for employers - circumstances would dictate whether the NP remained in his/her current position. Regarding future employment, a malpractice lawsuit on your record can make it more difficult to find employment. This gives employers pause in the hiring process and may lead to problems with credentialing etc. 

- Erin Tolbert

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