It is not uncommon for health professionals at some point in their careers to experience events which lead to a referral to the Professionals Resource Network (PRN). Such a referral should prompt health professionals to gather information about PRN Florida before contacting PRN Florida. This is because most health professionals know little about PRN unless they have already been exposed to PRN due to a friend or colleague’s experience with the organization. Lack of information about PRN can result in an inappropriate response to a PRN referral and undesirable consequences for health professionals. This brief article is intended to provide you with some information about PRN. More detailed information can be found at Professionals Resource Network (PRN).
PRN is a monitoring contractor for several of Florida’s health professions boards. The mission of the PRN is to protect Florida’s citizens by identifying and, when indicated, intervening upon, evaluating and monitoring impaired practitioners1. PRN supports pharmacists, physicians, dentists, therapists, and other health professionals with issues such as addiction, mental health, boundaries and disruptive behaviors. For some, PRN is mandatory. For others, it is voluntary and often suggested by an employer or the licensing board as a way to avoid licensing action.You are not required to accept a referral to PRN. Therefore, you should not speak to a PRN representative until you have spoken to a attorney.
The Untold Truth About PRN
Practitioners often contact PRN because of fear that they will face formal licensing action if they do not report to PRN. However, the untold truth is that:
- a multi-year monitoring agreement with PRN could still result in licensing action;
- it can be very expensive and difficult to maintain the often intrusive requirements that PRN imposes on practitioners; and
- practitioners will be labeled “impaired”, will likely have difficulties finding and maintaining employment in the future.
It should be noted that PRN is an excellent program for people who truly need help in order to keep a health care license. Health care professionals only need PRN Florida if they are classified as an “impaired practitioner”. In short, this means that due to alcohol or drug dependence, and/or a mental health disorder, they lack the ability to practice their profession in a safe and liable manner. Assuming you are an “impaired practitioner” PRN Florida provides valuable services in evaluating and monitoring impaired practitioners by helping them recover from their conditions and returning to work when they are safe to practice. If you are not an “impaired practitioner” PRN is not the place for you.
Once you are referred to PRN, an evaluation is scheduled with one of the approved treatment providers. Depending on the severity your issue, the evaluation may be conducted as an inpatient or an outpatient. If you undergo an inpatient evaluation, you will be placed under observation for a minimum of 48 hours, during which time a thorough medical examination, psychiatric assessment, addiction/chemical use evaluation and psychometric testing are completed.
After your evaluation you will be given a monitoring contract from PRN to review and sign. You should read the PRN contract carefully and consider having our attorneys review it with you because once you sign the contract it is nearly impossible to deviate from its terms without endangering your license. Addiction patients are usually given five (5) year monitoring contracts with meeting stipulations (e.g. 12 step, PRN monitoring, individual therapy) as well as urine drug screens.
If you agree to the contract, then you will begin the monitoring phase of PRN. But, if you refuse to be evaluated or sign the contract, then the Department of Health is notified and an official investigation is undertaken. In the monitoring phase, the participant directly pays the provider for urine toxicology screening, ongoing psychotherapy, and for the facilitator of the regional PRN group. These costs can be considerable and may amount to thousands of dollars each year.
Non-compliance with PRN
As long as you progress satisfactorily in a PRN-approved program with an approved treatment provider, no regulatory action will be precipitated. However, at any time should you fail to progress as required, the PRN consultant will notify the Department of Health (DOH), and your case may will be brought before the appropriate board for consideration of disciplinary action.
How We Can Help Practitioners Considering PRN
It is often advisable to fight a referral to PRN. Our attorneys can advise you on the numerous alternatives to PRN. Chapman Law Group has represented countless practitioners whose legal matters involve 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. Our attorneys fight allegation of impairment and strive to find a solution that allows the health professional to continue to practice, without unnecessary monitoring and without the health professional being labeled “impaired.”
In most cases it may be more cost effective to hire an attorney. Our attorneys can help determine if PRN 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 is a good option, an attorney can help negotiate a favorable agreement that is less restrictive and less expensive. Our attorneys may also be able to help you find private treatment that is less expensive and still be sufficient to help you maintain your license.
1. Process, Policies, and Challenges by Judy S. Rivenbark. Florida Medical Magazine