Long-term care and the ability to live in the community in a group or other residential setting is a crucial part of health care and human services. Care providers become an important part of residents’ lives, learn how to meet their needs in respectful and appropriate ways, and build social connections with residents who often spend limited time in social situations. Because of the role they play in residents’ lives, caretakers are expected to meet stringent safety requirements. This includes licensed professionals, such as registered nurses, and unlicensed professionals, like CNAs (certified nursing assistants) and PCWs (personal care workers).
Being disqualified from direct care is devastating to PCWs, CNAs, and other care providers. Not only do they suddenly lose their ability to work, but they also lose the connection to their clients that they care about. Forshier Law LLC focuses on healthcare licensing issues and healthcare worker complaints. Our experience with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is extremely valuable to caretakers who face losing their careers. Schedule a free phone consultation today.
Disqualification from Direct Care
Minnesota Statute 245C.14 covers disqualification from direct contact. If a background check or investigation uncovers any of the following situations, the individual in question will be disqualified from providing care or even from working as a housekeeper or dietary aide:
- Conviction, admission, or Alford plea related to certain crimes listed in Minnesota Statute 245C.15 that would make them unfit to provide care
- The preponderance of the evidence indicates that an individual has committed one of the disqualifying crimes
- The investigation leads to an administrative decision to disqualify an individual
With few exceptions, a person disqualified from direct contact cannot have access to a person receiving services. The commissioner may decide to allow the person to maintain direct contact while they request reconsideration, set aside the person’s disqualification for a program or entity, or grant a variance.
Background Studies Act
Whether you work in a licensed or unlicensed role in a direct care setting, you will be subject a background study if you plan on working for a personal care provider organization, supplemental nursing service agency, temp agency, home-based care provider, or community-based care provider.
If the background study reveals any convictions for disqualifying crimes, this information will be reported to all agencies that requested a background check.
Minnesota law allows individuals who have been disqualified to request a reconsideration. Note that you must meet strict deadlines to have your request granted. When you request reconsideration, you have to provide proof that:
- The information used to disqualify you was incorrect
- The information used to demonstrate that maltreatment was serious or recurring was incorrect
- That you do not pose a risk of harm to any person you would be serving in your role
Additional information may be requested. If you do not provide it, the reconsideration request may be immediately dismissed.
After reviewing the information provided, the commissioner will determine whether or not to overturn the disqualification. The primary factor considered during this process is the risk of harm you pose to the individuals you would serve in your position. Those factors include:
- The severity and nature of the event that led to disqualification
- If the event was a one-time occurrence or if it led to more disqualifying events
- The age and vulnerability of the victim
- The general vulnerability of the people served by the disqualified person
- How long it has been since the disqualifying event
- Similarities between the victim and the people served
- Completion of training or rehabilitation relevant to the event
The commissioner may also choose to set aside a disqualification. If this happens, you are still disqualified. However, you are able to have direct contact with the licensed facility listed in the set-aside notice.
Fair Hearing Rights
If your reconsideration request does not result in having your disqualification lifted, you have one option left. You may request a fair hearing. You may not request this if your disqualification is considered conclusive.
There are several situations in which you cannot request another hearing after a reconsideration decision. Except under very specific circumstances, someone disqualified based on a conviction, admission, or Alford plea to a relevant crime cannot go further than a reconsideration request.
The laws surrounding reconsideration requests and fair hearing rights are extremely complicated, and many different factors determine whether or not you can request reconsideration or request a fair hearing. Ideally, you should be working with a lawyer long before you reach the point of a reconsideration request. Even if you have done everything on your own up until this point, though, you should still work with an attorney as you explore your final options for reversing a disqualification.
Forshier Law, LLC is Here to Help You Protect Your Future
A disqualification can completely change your career plans and leave you without a path forward. Additionally, the disqualification or a finding of maltreatment even if not recurring or severe, will be reported to your licensing Board where you may suffer severe repercussions. You need to use every tool at your disposal to fight it. Forshier Law, LLC is dedicated to helping workers like you continue working in long-term and other care settings. We know that misunderstandings happen and that complaints can often be made by malicious or misinformed people. To discuss your case and figure out how to defend yourself against complaints, reach out online or call us today. We’ll get you set up with a free phone consultation and take a look at your case.