WV restore/reported to BON

  1. I was recently accused of diverting drugs. My supervisor had zero proof, no pt complaints but according to the inpatient pharmacy and their system I was giving to many narcotics. I was not diverting but they wanted to do a safe for duty drug test which I agreed to. I also had the stomach flu and ran out of the office vomiting before I could give a sample. I was terminated and reported to the BON. I just received a letter from the BON giving me options to enter the WV restore program, agreeing to send all my health documents (I have a history of alcohol abuse but have been sober for 3 years, no HX of drug abuse) or sending a letter of my side of the story in my defense. I don't even know where to begin! I had no idea that running out vomiting would lead to this and my supervisor told me no such thing at the time. Help please, I'm freaking out....
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   Big Blondie
    Lawyer.
  4. by   morte
    Quote from Big Blondie
    Lawyer.
    seconded.
  5. by   Lisacar130
    After you ran out vomiting, what did you do? Did you go back in or call them? Did you just go home or what happened?
  6. by   Recovering_RN
    From their perspective, you ran out vomiting as a cover to avoid giving a urine sample. You could've gone right back in and given a sample, but you didn't. You could've asked for an emesis bag, or vomited into a sink or toilet, you didn't have to leave. I'm not saying that what you're saying isn't true, but I can tell you they've probably heard every story there is, and this sounds like a story. I've made up plenty of them myself.

    You're going to have to enter the monitoring program. It's possible a lawyer can help you, I don't know. Your story is probably no different than someone who refused to give a urine sample, and I could be wrong but I think most lawyers end up swinging you a "deal" that you're allowed to keep your license if you enter monitoring. Which you could've done on your own without paying lawyers fees. But heck, it can't hurt to try and see if a lawyer can help.
  7. by   Lisacar130
    Yeah I agree with the above. Unless you only stepped out to vomit and immediately tried to return to test, this is going to be considered a refusal to test. Your history of ETOH adds another piece to the puzzle as well. If this restore program means nothing shows up publicly on your license, I would do that. I don't think anyone will believe a "your side of the story" letter, no offense. Maybe you did or didn't divert but there was something you were afraid of showing up, like marijuana or alcohol. I don't know how it works in WV but if you don't immediately sign up for the restore program I would be afraid of the BON then wanting a hearing and risking a public discipline on your license. You would still be in a monitoring program either way. The only thing with a lawyer is some of them want your business and encourage you to fight with the board so they can bill you for thousands. You don't need a lawyer if you sign up for the restore program, I believe? I would try to talk with nurses in recovery in WV as well.
  8. by   aflahe00
    Running out and vomiting isn't why this Happened I mean apparently you left and never came back to take the test? Of coarse they are going to interpret that as a refusal. All u can do now is write your letter and explain yourself and hope for the best. The investigation will go on regardless of your input so it's best to obviously respond. Not sure a lawyer is gonna be able to do anything here I'm not sure if I would do that.
  9. by   PixieRN1
    It simply is a refusal to test, which is in my state a mandatory reporting event. The report itself probably wasn’t personal because, as I’ve said, it’s mandated. Their diversion software flagging you alone isn’t NECSSARILY a mandatory report here, but that depends on the pattern they detected, the frequency, and the quantity that they felt could have been diverted.

    If you had submitted a clean screen after vomiting, , again, depending on the strength of their evidence, there would have been a chance they would have fired you and not reported, depending on state law.

    That being said, a clean screen wouldn’t necessarily absolved you, because some nurses do divert to sell, not use personally. So you may have ended up before the Board regardless.

    Unfortunately, now that missed test is considered a full positive, which they reported, plus I’m pretty sure that they reported all the evidence of your suspected diversion with that. They will launch an investigation, interview your employer, supervisor, ect. They can choose to supoeana your medical records pertinent to the alcohol use as well, but if you enter Monitoring, they will ask you for a ROI for those records, and will refuse entrance to the program if you refuse to release the information.

    Personally, I would run to the Monitoring program and start the process of jumping through the years of hoops to keep that license. And if the employer feels the evidence is strong enough, they may contact the DEA and a criminal investigation may or may not happen in addition.

    Speaking from experience, enroll in monitoring ASAL. It is the only card they want to see when they start negotiating disciplinary action on your license. If the hospital doesn’t press charges and you enroll in monitoring before being ordered, DEPENDING ON YOUR STATE, you may be granted a stay of discipline and keep a clean license if you complete the monitoring contract, which would keep your license blemish-free.

    Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been there, done that.

    You can get through this.
  10. by   Tnccriley
    I don't know how one state differs from another but from everything I've read, they all seem very similar. I'm in Michigan. I have given up on nursing. I would love to see the statistics on nurses that complete a monitoring agreement and go on in nursing with no further involvement with the board. I personally went through the hassle of completing a three year contract only to find out that you are condemned to suspicion for the entirety of your nursing career. Anytime and every time there is ANY question in regards to the narcotics on your unit...the nurse that has been involved with a monitoring agreement is the easiest scapegoat! Guilty or not, it doesn't matter. And as far as that fit for duty test....that doesn't matter either. Passed mine, on the spot, with flying colors. Still terminated and referred to the board and recovery program. Most lawyers are in it for the money, not some benevolent sense of justice. They will gladly take your money but again, nothing will change. In fact, even taking your chances and going before a judge won't change anything. My judge ruled the board to reinstate my license and so they did. But there was no exhonoration...I was still required to sign a 3 year contract-so why did I even go in front of a judge if they really have no authority!??! nobody likes a negative person and this is all very discouraging if you're in recovery. These are things nobody wants to hear. The thing is, if I had known then, what I know now, I could have saved a LOT of money and even more time, as well as changing careers at least 4 years sooner!
  11. by   PixieRN1
    Just to answer your question on statistics, as a resident of VA, only 34% of participants complete the mandatory 5 year Healthcare Practitioner’s Monitoring Program. It’s their own published statistic.

    Nobody else in the medical sector could get away with such a terrible “graduation” rate, or failure rate, without some sort of accountability...and yet, Virginia somehow keeps going without reform.

    Giant warm fuzzy right there!
  12. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    I'm in Pennsylvania and PNAP claims a 91% success rate. I think this is because we enter three year monitoring programs. I couldn't imagine doing this the five years. I'm sure you have a strong burnout rate where people simply throw in the towel. I have a strong suspicion that this 91% means eventually completes the program. Nurses get extended all the time for very nebulous reasons (dilute urine is not evidence of drug or alcohol use its just evidence of dilute urine / forgetting to check in / your boss or counselor writing some nit-picky nonsense about you that has nothing to do with substance abuse...). I'm pretty sure that if you measured the long term sobriety of these ex-PNAP members you would find the standard 40-60% annual relapse rate as with most chronic disease. Three years of not using or drinking because of flat out extortion does not equal sobriety.
  13. by   dirtyhippiegirl
    Quote from SpankedInPittsburgh
    I'm pretty sure that if you measured the long term sobriety of these ex-PNAP members you would find the standard 40-60% annual relapse rate as with most chronic disease. Three years of not using or drinking because of flat out extortion does not equal sobriety.
    Meh. Continuous sobriety seems to beget more sobriety -- one study covered 1200 addicts for eight years and relapse rate after 5 years of sobriety is under 15%.

    Plenty of addicts sober up for reasons outside of their own innate willingness. I'm not certain if getting sober because you have liver failure or because your wife is going to leave you or the court is gonna take your kids or you're gonna end up homeless because you can't juggle addiction with a job/adult responsibilities or whatever isn't its own kind of extortion, even if it's not necessarily formalized with a contract and drug tests.

    Speaking as a legit alcoholic who needed a program like this because I was drinking on the job-- I think it can be too easy to rely on the extensive drug testing and draconian rules as a crutch to keep you sober. But, paradoxically, I'm not certain that I could have sobered up without that sort of structure?
  14. by   PixieRN1
    Quote from SpankedInPittsburgh
    I'm in Pennsylvania and PNAP claims a 91% success rate. I think this is because we enter three year monitoring programs. I couldn't imagine doing this the five years. I'm sure you have a strong burnout rate where people simply throw in the towel. I have a strong suspicion that this 91% means eventually completes the program. Nurses get extended all the time for very nebulous reasons (dilute urine is not evidence of drug or alcohol use its just evidence of dilute urine / forgetting to check in / your boss or counselor writing some nit-picky nonsense about you that has nothing to do with substance abuse...). I'm pretty sure that if you measured the long term sobriety of these ex-PNAP members you would find the standard 40-60% annual relapse rate as with most chronic disease. Three years of not using or drinking because of flat out extortion does not equal sobriety.
    Honestly, I can’t even let myself think about the fact that it is five years. It’s too overwhelming, too much room for me to make a simple mistake that would land me in the 34%. I’m not even talking about using...what if I forget a form or miss an appointment and it’s the end of the month and I can’t make it in time? The list of my worries is endless.

    A five year program is financially excruciating to bear. I couldn’t have made it the first 6 months financially without help from family and friends who really didn’t have to help. Something as simple as groceries being dropped off on my door step. I can see why people drop out, who desperately want to stay, if nothing from a financial perspective.

    I’m not saying that what I did was without consequences or repercussions, but as it stands, my particular program is very difficult to complete. I know change needs to happen, but for the life of me I can’t suggest a realistic solution.

    And as you suggested, the actual percent is probably even lower. I mean, dang. 34%. I mean, a year later, I am still mandated to attend weekly IOP meetings...yes, IOP. My insurance stopped paying for it a long time ago because they say it’s not needed. And the powers that be won’t even drop me down by one session a month. And I am mandated to have bimonthly individual counseling, monthly psychiatry, bimonthly Cadeusus, 3 times a week AA, and I’m a year out. I’m tested 4-5 times a month. And I’ve not stumbled in the Monitoring program. Not once. They just won’t drop the IOP down. And no, I wasn’t diverting or working impaired. I was abusing (although seriously abusing) an antidepressant.

    I guess I don’t have a point, I’m just venting because the IOP is a monthly cost of two car payments. So even knocking one off would help.

    Thanks for listening.

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