When you heard the word “fraud,” you may have felt a sense of dread. Being accused of fraud means someone believes you intentionally attempted to deceive for your own benefit. Personal benefit was probably the last thing on your mind when you made those notations on your patient’s record.
Now, authorities have accused you of falsifying patient documents. If the Arizona State Board of Nursing determines you acted fraudulently, it may seek to have criminal charges filed. Falsifying information on a patient’s chart is a felony. Not only is your nursing license in jeopardy, but your freedom may also be at stake.
Mistakes and omissions
As a nurse, you understand that accurate patient records are crucial. They show the progression of care and help doctors make vital decisions about a patient’s treatment. They can also be used to defend health care providers against malpractice claims. However, if authorities claim your patient records are inaccurate, there could be many reasons why, including:
- You logged that you gave medication, but you didn’t verify that the patient consumed it.
- You missed a patient’s medical dose but signed off that you administered it to avoid getting into trouble.
- You logged that you completed a procedure before you did it, then got busy and forgot.
- You left an open space in your log that someone else filled in, creating confusion and inaccuracies.
- You falsely filled in records at the order of a supervisor.
- You made a mistake in your records and lied to cover it up.
If the Board determines that you entered the errors in the records with intent to deceive, they may judge that you committed fraud. At this point, your future is at risk.
Having an attorney at your hearing
When nurses or other medical professionals face possible disciplinary action following accusations of wrongdoing, they may feel overwhelmed and alone. You may be feeling that way now, even if you made an honest mistake or someone is accusing you of something you didn’t do. The good news is that you are not alone.
An attorney who is particularly dedicated to defending the medical profession will build a strategy to present to the Arizona State Board of Nursing in an effort to protect you from losing the privilege of practicing the vocation you have worked so hard to build. If you have an attorney present when you go before the board, you can be confident that no one will infringe on your rights during the procedure. Your lawyer will examine every option to defend your license, your reputation and your career.