Posted by Ron Chapman
A local Michigan radiology technician has allegedly spread Hep. C across seven states by stealing patient syringes containing painkillers and replacing them with bogus syringes contaminated with Hep. C. Due to lack of disciplinary reporting, the tech had been hired by dozens of hospitals in several states, despite his disciplinary history for drug use.
The disciplinary reporting rules are designed to protect the public from a small percentage of health professionals that give most of you a bad name. Each state has reporting guidelines that require hospitals and medical professionals to report malpractice, patient neglect, negligence, unprofessional conduct, etc. to the state licensing board. In addition, health care professionals are also reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank, designed to streamline disciplinary reporting between states. Until recently the NPDB was primarily for reporting disciplinary action against physicians and nurses.
Unfortunately, there seems to be confusion over the reporting guidelines for health professionals other than physicians and nurses. The Michigan radiology tech incident is a clear example of some of the loopholes and lack of disciplinary reporting that exists for some health professionals, giving the rest of you a bad name.
Disciplinary reporting guidelines for physicians and nurses are stringent in comparison to all other healthcare practioners. For example, a physician or nurse accused of on-the-job drug use or misappropriation of a controlled pharmaceutical would almost certainly face an emergency suspension of their license and trigger mandatory reporting to the state licensing board, as well as other applicable state boards and the NPDB, creating a whole slew of legal problems. A very different story than the local radiology tech.
Disciplinary rules, state boards and databanks can be a great tool for protecting the public against a few healthcare practioners who jeopardize patient safety, if hospitals and health professionals use the reporting procedures correctly. Unfortunately, there are occasions when nurses and physicians face unjust licensing action and inaccurate disciplinary reporting as a result of stringent reporting rules that threaten their license, career and livelihood. Our team of professional licensing attorneys is dedicated to the defense of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and all healthcare professionals. If you require assistance protecting or defending your professional license, please call us at (866) 238-0203.