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Hospice Nurse Wins Dismissal of Accusation Alleging Diversion of Narcotics
The RN was vindicated on charges of diverting narcotics by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who dismissed the Accusation after a three-day administrative hearing. An HMO fired our client and filed a report with the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) because a hospice patient’s family accused the hospice nurse of stealing pain medication. The HMO conducted a narcotics audit for ten patients. The auditor was a nurse manager, who lacked real world experience in hospice care. Her audit erroneously determined that our client unnecessarily pre-ordered and re-ordered narcotics. This nurse manager was oblivious to the fact that experienced hospice nurses prepare for the end of life by ensuring the availability of pain medication before it is needed.
At the administrative hearing, the Board of Registered Nursing called the nurse manager to testify as its own "impartial" expert witness. After cross-examination and the testimony of our expert, the ALJ made a finding that the HMO’s nurse manager 'was not persuasive.' The ALJ issued a Proposed Decision dismissing the Accusation and denying the Board’s cost of investigation, which was over $25,000. The Board of Registered adopted the ALJ’s Proposed Decision.