Thursday, December 27, 2012

PA Nurses Not Required to Immediately Report Crimes

An article published through the Patriot News in November 2012, by investigative reporter Dan Miller, discusses the issue of reporting requirements for hospitals related to criminal actions of registered nurses.  Miller's article "State's registered nurses not required to report they have been charged, convicted of crime", notes that registered nurses in Pennsylvania may go up to two years without having to report being charged and convicted of a crime or entering ARD.  Under current Pennsylvania law, you do not have to report it until it is time for the nurse to renew their license, which is done every two years.  Furthremore, there is currently no requirement in Pennsylvania that law enforcement report a nurse being charged or convicted of a crime to the state licensing board or Department of Health.

On the other hand, one area where nurse behavior is to be immediately reported to the state is for drug diversion or theft of controlled substances.  When a nurse is found to have stolen or misappropriated medication for personal use, state and federal authorities are required to be notified immediately.  Pennsylvania state law covering registered nurses, says a health care facility that becomes aware of a nurse diverting drugs or being addicted to drugs must report the matter to the state licensing board immediately.  This requirement holds true regardless of whether the nurse was charged or convicted of a crime.

Interestingly, depending upon how one reads current state law for registered nurses, an ARD could be grounds for a nurse's licenses to be suspended or revoked.  This, however, can only occur if the state licensing board is made aware of the indiscretion(s).  While reporting is not a legal requirement, one would think it would be the expected standard of care for the protection of all of us for health care facilities to always report the criminal actions of its nurses to the state licensing board. Share this post :
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