Minnesota Nursing Complaint Review Committee
By Barbara Forshier on February 17th, 2023 in
According to Nurse Journal, in 2021 there were 18,145 adverse actions against nursing licenses. This affected 140,859 nurses, 93,998 licensed practical nurses, and 9,002 nurse practitioners. While these numbers may sound high at first glance, they represent less than 1 percent of all nursing licenses.
As of 2020, professional conduct complaints made up almost one-third of the total number of complaints against nurses. Scope of practice violations made up almost 25 percent of the complaints, 10 percent involved documentation errors or omissions, 9.3 percent involved treatment and care failures, 8.8 percent involved abuse of patients, and 6 percent involved medication administration.
Under professional conduct complaints, about 42 percent involved drug diversion or substance misuse. Under the scope of practice, about 60 percent of all complaints involved failure to maintain standards. It is extremely important that you speak to the nurse defense lawyer at Forshier Law. Attorney Barbara Forshier will aggressively defend any complaint filed against you before the Minnesota Board of Nursing Complaint Review Committee.
What is the Complaint Review Committee?
Anyone with concerns regarding a nurse’s conduct can submit a complaint to the Minnesota Nursing Board of Nursing. The complaint must be submitted in writing and must provide as much information as possible. Complaints are not public information and are only shared with Board members and staff, the Attorney General, and portions of the complaint are shared with the person being investigated. The nurse is not allowed to know the name of the person filing the complaint.
Only complaints alleging violations of the Minnesota Nurse Practice Act can be investigated. It may be determined there is a lack of evidence, in which case, the complaint will be dismissed. If it is determined a violation may have been committed, a Board staff member is assigned to the file. The board will further investigate the complaint, then may send a letter to the nurse asking him or her to attend a meeting or asking for a response. The Review Committee will inform the nurse of his or her rights to due process.
It may be determined that the nurse requires additional education. If this is the case, the Review Panel and the Nurse will enter into an Agreement for Corrective Action. This is a public document and is not considered disciplinary action. If no agreement regarding disciplinary or non-disciplinary action is reached between the Review Panel and the nurse, there will be a process that is similar to a trial (a contested case hearing).
This hearing is before an Administrative Law Judge who will decide whether there has been a violation of the Nurse Practice Act. A public document (disciplinary order) specifying how the nurse violated the Nurse Practice Act is then issued if a violation is upheld. A range of disciplinary actions can be taken by the Board, including a civil penalty, a reprimand, conditions, limitations, or a suspension or revocation of the nurse’s license.
Minnesota Nursing Complaint Review Committee Reform
Many believe significant reform is needed for the Minnesota Nursing Complaint Review Committee. One of the major problems with the Minnesota Nursing Complaint Review Committee is that they may not have a nurse on the review panel. This can have serious implications; other health licensing boards have more than two practicing members on the complaint review panels.
A report on potential reforms needed found that the board’s ability to resolve complaints in a timely manner is limited by the lack of investigatory authority, along with the lack of internal guidelines. Further, the complaint resolution process has not always been fair to nurses. Additional recommendations included in a report published by the Minnesota Legislative Auditor in 2015 included:
- The Legislature should allow the board to expunge certain information regarding actions taken from a nurse’s public record.
- Under the Nurse Practice Act, the Legislature should allow the Board to continue using its authority to suspend nurses, giving the Board greater authority to investigate and dismiss claims.
- The Board should make quicker use of its authority to issue temporary suspensions
- Guidelines and rules should be adopted by the Board to ensure more consistent, timely decisions.
These reforms are necessary to ensure the process is both fair and balanced and that nurses do not lose their careers over a potentially false allegation. It is also important that nurses are treated in a fair manner by their peers in a consistent manner with other health licensing boards.
How Forshier Law Can Help
If you are a Minnesota nurse who has been called before the Minnesota Nursing Complaint Review Panel, it is imperative that you seek the highly-skilled nurse defense lawyer at Forshier Law. Attorney Barbara Forshier has actively met with other attorneys who are working to change the composition of the Review Panel, so it more closely resembles other Minnesota Health Licensing Boards.
Barbara is in the unique position of having more than 35 years of experience as an RN in an acute care setting before becoming a lawyer—and a legal advocate for nurses and other medical professionals. Forshier Law only practices in this specialized area and has represented more hundreds of nurses before the Minnesota Board of Nursing. Contact Forshier Law today for highly skilled representation from a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney.