Health professionals, like anyone else, can encounter impairments such as substance abuse, emotional health, and mental disorders. However, when a health professional is seen as impaired, whether in their private life or professional practice, there is as assumption that the impairment adversely affects their ability to practice their chosen profession.
The Professionals Resource Network provides evaluation and treatment to impaired practitioners on behalf of the State of Florida. By utilizing PRN, the State of Florida seeks to “protect the health, safety and welfare of the public, while at the same time supporting the integrity of the healthcare professionals.” Many practitioners mistakenly believe that PRN Florida is intended to protect the practitioner’s license.
PRN Florida is a good program for practitioners who have a serious substance abuse or mental health problem. However, practitioners with one-time incidents of impairment (e.g. drug diversion, DUI, positive drug screen) are often caught up in the broad net cast by a referral to PRN Florida. These non-impaired practitioners would obtain little to no benefit from the time, expense and work limitations placed on them if they were required to enter PRN Florida.
Practitioners often contact PRN because of fear that they will face formal licensing action if they do not report to PRN Florida. However, the untold truth is that:
Therefore, practitioners should not contact PRN Florida without first discussing their options with an attorney. Our attorneys fight allegation of impairment and strive to find a solution that allows the practitioner to continue to practice, without unnecessary monitoring and without the practitioner being labeled “impaired.”
For some, PRN Florida is mandatory. For others, it is voluntary and often suggested by an employer or the licensing board as a way to avoid licensing action. However, the Professionals Resource Network is not the only option for resolving impairment allegations. The key is to consult an attorney as soon as possible, ideally before reporting of the violation, to prepare a defense and negotiate options before licensing action commences and PRN Florida is made mandatory. In some cases, we are able to help practitioners avoid the Professionals Resource Network and avoid formal licensing action.
Accusations of, or behaviors indicating, substance abuse or mental health problems can result in a practitioner being referred to PRN Florida. Accusations come from various sources including employers, hospitals, competitors, or graduate medical education (GME) program supervisors. Occasionally, complaints against practitioners come from disgruntled family members, terminated employees, or former patients looking for some form of retribution. Impaired practitioners, who realize they need help, may also self-refer to the Professionals Resource Network.
If a practitioner answers “yes” to questions on his/her license application indicating there may be an impairment issue, the licensing board will frequently refer him/her to PRN Florida for evaluation and, if needed, a contract.
If you are referred to PRN you should contact our attorneys before you contact PRN Florida to schedule an evaluation. It is crucial that you fully understand the implications that a Professionals Resource Network referral can have on your professional license(s) and career before you schedule a PRN evaluation.
After you contact PRN Florida, they will arrange for you to be evaluated. If a PRN evaluation determines you are impaired, you will be required to sign a monitoring/advocacy contract with the Professionals Resource Network. Most of the PRN contracts are for five years. Many practitioners are unaware that PRN monitoring contracts maybe negotiable. Our attorneys are experienced with helping practitioners negotiate PRN contracts and can help reduce the level of monitoring and the length of time monitoring is required by the PRN contract. If you do not agree to enter into a contract with the Professionals Resource Network, thereby refusing their recommendations, you will be reported to the Department of Health (DOH) for disciplinary action.
Participation in PRN Florida is usually confidential, except you must inform your employer that you are enrolled in the program. While you participate and comply with the terms of your PRN agreement, the Department of Health and licensing boards will not take action against you. But if you become non-compliant with the terms of your PRN agreement, State law requires the Professionals Resource Network to refer your case to the Department of Health for disciplinary action. Chapman Law Group represents individuals who have violated their PRN contracts and as a result risk an emergency suspension or an action against their license.
Practitioners frequently seek advice on whether they can successfully obtain an early release from or an adjustment to their PRN contracts. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get released from a PRN contract without subsequent penalties after you have already enrolled. Therefore, you should be very cautious before you even agree to be evaluated by PRN Florida. We encourage you to contact our attorneys to answer your questions, and advise you on things to consider, including possible alternatives to the Professionals Resource Network (PRN).
It is often advisable to fight a referral to PRN. Our attorneys can advise you on the numerous alternatives to the Professionals Resource Network. Chapman Law Group regularly advises doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and other practitioners who are accused of drug diversion, positive employment drug screens, DUIs, alcohol abuse, mental issues and other impairments. Chapman Law Group has represented countless individuals whose legal matters involving PRN referrals, PRN monitoring contracts, and PRN violations. We have several full-time professional licensing attorneys that work with health professionals daily to resolve impairment issues.
We use three factors when helping Florida practitioners decide if PRN Florida is a good option for avoiding licensing action. They are…
1) do you have an alcohol or drug addiction,
2) is this your first offense,
3) are you able to prove to the relevant board:
a) that this was an isolated situation,
b) that you are safe to practice,
c) that you would not benefit from a period of monitoring, and
d) that you do not need active supervision.
In most cases it may be more cost effective to hire an attorney. Our attorneys can help determine if the Professionals Resource Network is the best option, and in some cases be able to avoid the cost of PRN altogether, while allowing the practitioner to maintain their professional license. If PRN Florida is a good option, our attorneys can help negotiate a favorable agreement with the Professionals Resource Network that is less restrictive and less expensive. Our attorneys may also be able to help you find private treatment that is less expensive and instructive as PRN, and still be sufficient to help you maintain your license. To see how we have helped health professionals with impairments, see drug diversion case results, DUI case results, and medical board discipline case results.
Chapman Law Group is dedicated to defending licenses and protecting the livelihood of all health care professionals: Doctors, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Medical Assistant. If you ever believe that your professional license is in jeopardy due to substance abuse or mental health issues, you should contact Chapman Law Group and seek assistance from their highly qualified professional licensing attorneys.