TX Nurses facing criminal charges for reporting doctor - Outcome: Dismissed/acquittal

  1. by AP, 07/18/2009

    Two West Texas nurses have been indicted after filing an anonymous complaint about a doctor's practices with the Texas Medical Board, but the state agency says the women did nothing wrong.

    The nurses are charged with misuse of official information. Each one-page indictment filed against them alleges they improperly accessed information that was not public "with intent to harm" the doctor for "a nongovernmental purpose."

    http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/ne.../51094729.html
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  2. Visit AMV profile page

    About AMV

    Joined: Nov '00; Posts: 79; Likes: 44
    Specialty: 19 year(s) of experience in Cardiovascular

    322 Comments

  3. by   AMV
    Has anyone heard about this recent case? Two nurses were prosecuted for reporting a physician to the Texas Medical Board. Both the American Nurses Association and the Texas Nurses Association have strongly criticized the county that has brought charges against these nurses. The ANA issued a press release about this yesterday. This has received very little press in Texas and none that I can find on any national websites. It is outrageous!
  4. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from AMV
    Has anyone heard about this recent case? Two nurses were prosecuted for reporting a physician to the Texas Medical Board. Both the American Nurses Association and the Texas Nurses Association have strongly criticized the county that has brought charges against these nurses. The ANA issued a press release about this yesterday. This has received very little press in Texas and none that I can find on any national websites. It is outrageous!
    any links?

    leslie
  5. by   GilaRRT
  6. by   EricJRN
  7. by   ChristyRN2009
    I'd bet they wouldn't dare prosecute a private citizen for complaining to the Medical Board about a doctor. What a bunch of crap!
  8. by   SuesquatchRN
    Even the Texas MEDICAL Board is supporting the nurses and opposes this action.

    Wow.
  9. by   Batman24
    Quote from SuesquatchRN
    Even the Texas MEDICAL Board is supporting the nurses and opposes this action.

    Wow.
    As they should but it was nice to see in print.

    What a colossal waste of taxpayer money. Reeks of politics and power play.
  10. by   leslie :-D
    how utterly preposterous, chauvinist and frankly, downright suspicious!!
    this doc must know someone and it's payback time.

    this is total crap!!

    leslie
  11. by   herring_RN
    All nurses, including Texas RNs and LVNs, need the federal whistle blower protection in Senate Bill S. 1031:
    Protection for Reporting-
    `(1) PROHIBITION ON RETALIATION OR DISCRIMINATION-
    A hospital shall not discriminate or retaliate in any manner against any patient, employee, or contract employee of the hospital, or any other individual, on the basis that such individual, in good faith, individually or in conjunction with another person or persons, has presented a grievance or complaint, or has initiated or cooperated in any investigation or proceeding of any governmental entity, regulatory agency, or private accreditation body, made a civil claim or demand, or filed an action relating to the care, services, or conditions of the hospital or of any affiliated or related facilities.

    `(2) GOOD FAITH DEFINED- For purposes of this subsection, an individual shall be deemed to be acting in good faith if the individual reasonably believes--
    `(A) the information reported or disclosed is true; and
    `(B) a violation of this title has occurred or may occur.
    `(h) Prohibition on Interference With Rights-
    `(1) EXERCISE OF RIGHTS- It shall be unlawful for any hospital to--
    `(A) interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise, or attempt to exercise, by any person of any right provided or protected under this title; or
    `(B) coerce or intimidate any person regarding the exercise or attempt to exercise such right.

    `(2) OPPOSITION TO UNLAWFUL POLICIES OR PRACTICES- It shall be unlawful for any hospital to discriminate or retaliate against any person for opposing any hospital policy, practice, or actions which are alleged to violate, breach, or fail to comply with any provision of this title.

    `(3) PROHIBITION ON INTERFERENCE WITH PROTECTED COMMUNICATIONS- A hospital (or an individual representing a hospital) shall not make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, policy, or practice which in any manner directly or indirectly prohibits, impedes, or discourages a direct care registered nurse from, or intimidates, coerces, or induces a direct care registered nurse regarding, engaging in free speech activities or disclosing information as provided under this title.

    `(4) PROHIBITION ON INTERFERENCE WITH COLLECTIVE ACTION- A hospital (or an individual representing a hospital) shall not in any way interfere with the rights of nurses to organize, bargain collectively, and engage in concerted activity under section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 157).
    `(i) Notice- A hospital shall post in an appropriate location in each unit a conspicuous notice in a form specified by the Secretary that--
    `(1) explains the rights of nurses, patients, and other individuals under this section;
    `(2) includes a statement that a nurse, patient, or other individual may file a complaint with the Secretary against a hospital that violates the provisions of this title; and
    `(3) provides instructions on how to file a complaint under paragraph (2).
    `(j) Effective Dates-
    `(1) REFUSAL; RETALIATION; CAUSE OF ACTION-
    `(A) IN GENERAL- Subsections (b) through (d) shall apply to refusals occurring on or after the effective date of the provision to which the refusal relates.
    `(B) EXCEPTION- Subsection (b)(2) shall not apply to refusals in any hospital before the requirements of section 3101(a) apply to that hospital.
    `(2) PROTECTIONS FOR REPORTING- Subsection (g)(1) shall apply to actions occurring on or after the effective date of the provision to which the violation relates, except that such subsection shall apply to initiation, cooperation, or participation in an investigation or proceeding on or after the date of enactment of this title.
    `(3) NOTICE- Subsection (i) shall take effect 18 months after the date of enactment of this title.

    `SEC. 3106. ENFORCEMENT.
    `(a) In General- The Secretary shall enforce the requirements and prohibitions of this title in accordance with this section.
    `(b) Procedures for Receiving and Investigating Complaints- The Secretary shall establish procedures under which--
    `(1) any person may file a complaint alleging that a hospital has violated a requirement or a prohibition of this title; and
    `(2) such complaints shall be investigated by the Secretary.
    `(c) Remedies- If the Secretary determines that a hospital has violated a requirement of this title, the Secretary--
    `(1) shall require the facility to establish a corrective action plan to prevent the recurrence of such violation; and
    `(2) may impose civil money penalties, as described in subsection (d).
    `(d) Civil Penalties-
    `(1) IN GENERAL- In addition to any other penalties prescribed by law, the Secretary may impose civil penalties as follows:
    `(A) HOSPITAL LIABILITY- The Secretary may impose on a hospital found to be in violation of this title, a civil money penalty of not more than $25,000 for each knowing violation of a requirement of this title, except that the Secretary shall impose a civil money penalty of more than $25,000 for each such violation in the case of a participating hospital that the Secretary determines has a pattern or practice of such violations (with the amount of such additional penalties being determined in accordance with a schedule or methodology specified in regulations).
    `(B) INDIVIDUAL LIABILITY- The Secretary may impose on an individual who--
    `(i) is employed by a hospital found by the Secretary to have violated a requirement of this title; and
    `(ii) willfully violates this title,
    a civil money penalty of not more than $20,000 for each such violation.
    `(2) PROCEDURES- The provisions of section 1128A of the Social Security Act (other than subsections (a) and (b)) shall apply to a civil money penalty under this paragraph in the same manner as such provisions apply to a penalty or proceeding under such section 1128A.

    http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1031/text

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/...mp/~c111VN9I4y
  12. by   AMV
    Thank you for posting the links. When I placed the first message, it had a link, but would not post and I did not know if that was the reason why.

    My concern is the lack of press that this is getting. This all is so contrary to what we as nurses are supposed to do - advocate for our patients! I don't know if a few of us contacting local or national media can make a difference, but the word needs to get out about this because the impact for the nursing profession is significant.
  13. by   tishirajan
    This is insane! I live in TX and have not heard one word of it on the news or in the newspaper!! I can't believe that these nurses are being charged for being a patient advocate and doing what they thought was right. What good is the whistle blower law if we don't abide by it? I hope that this does not prohibit nurses in the future for standing up for their patients for fear of being persecuted for doing so. This certainly does reek of politics. What a shame. I am furious!!
  14. by   AMV
    Last edit by AMV on Jul 17, '09

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