Florida Board of Health Suspends Healthcare Licenses Over Student Loan Defaults

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by Swellz Swellz Member Nurse

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown. Has 6 years experience.

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Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

On 2/21/2019 at 7:28 PM, Kooky Korky said:

Borrowers need to make absolutely sure that they understand what they are getting in to.

Agreed. Financial literacy is not really taught in school; it should be. I know it would have been more valuable in my life than trig class...

NurseBlaq

1,755 Posts

Alabama does the same thing for their state loan program. It's also one of the main reasons I won't apply for it. What if I want to relocate and they're talking about suspending my license instead of accepting the money in return? They'd do something that petty just because it's Alabama. No thank you!

myoglobin

myoglobin, ASN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro. Has 14 years experience. 1,453 Posts

Many of these license revocation laws are passed "after the fact" that people take out loans, or apply in one state, but not another. For example Florida is the only state (although others have the provision) to have actually suspended licenses on a massive scale. One person that I know at work had her license suspended and was told that it cannot be reinstated until she pays the loan plus an additional 10% in penalties. Great, now instead of being an RN earning 50K per year with two kids, she is a "Medicaid mom" who will get food stamps and other aide. Would it not make more sense to "garnish" the wages at a reasonable level? You will essentially take people who were working and productive and turn them into wards of the state or worse criminals. I know one LPN who lost their license due to this provision who just went "full time" with his mowing and lawn care business, and now earns 100K plus (yes he is paying on the loans, but no where to the point where he can pay off and get his license back anytime in the next several years). His is largely a "cash" business now and he could just as easily abandon the system and pay nothing. Again, why should they utilize tactics more draconian than the IRS? Reminds me of an article that I read a few years ago about poor renters in Arkansas who were actually thrown in prison for non payment of rent https://talkpoverty.org/2015/06/05/ending-debtors-prisons-arkansas-renters/ . We have always criminalized poverty to some extend especially where racial minorities are concerned in terms of unequal policing and enforcement.. Perhaps, now that it is affecting "middle America" to a greater extent this abhorrent practice will decrease.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience. 1,304 Posts

One has to consider if the nursing profession itself is a bit complicit in this issue. For example, you can have a person graduate nursing school, with their ASN, even from a private program like Kaiser (just as an example) and have a, by my personal standards, a quite high loan balance but not impossible to pay off.

Once our with that shiny new license, you’ve got a few fortunate to find and get spots in residency programs, you’ve got some that land in good positions that are well precepted and supported and go on to be good nurses. Then you have a too sizable chunk that can’t find thier niche, their program didn’t prepare them for the real world (too common IMO) or they find out Florence Nightingale did more than walk around with that lamp.

As if that’s not enough, we in the profession castigate those new nurses with the ‘never enough’ mantra. We’ve all heard it. “Congratulations, you’ve got your ASN, now get to work on your BSN because soon you won’t be able to get a job with out it.” And more money, more loans (because they’ve not been at their job for long enough for thing like tuition reimbursement, if they are lucky enough to have that benefit) I’m sorry, but that’s hogwash. As long as ASNs are offered (and the proliferation of such programs says the degree isn’t going away any time soon) the BSN will not be the entry point for nursing.

We need to stop pushing our own to get multiple degrees and rack up $$$ loans by insinuating that what they have isn’t enough. The result....you have MSNs (with ARNP credentials) working at the bedside, not making the money to pay those exorbitant loans and being resentful about it and maybe taking it out on those baby nurses.

We encourage the creation of too many generals and insinuate that being a soldier is somehow ‘not as good.’ That’s expensive and the ‘soldiers’ pay the price.

To take this vignette one step further, we’ve created the idea that bedside nursing is only a stepping stone to ‘bigger and better’ when in fact it’s probably the most important. I never worked at the bedside until I’d been a nurse for over 10 years...I’m not bedside now, I couldn’t hack it.

The BON needs to regulate nursing practice and the DOH needs to issue licenses. Neither should be debt collection muscle for either the federal government or private companies. If the state can garnish for child support and the Fed can garnish for IRS stuff, then surely they can figure out how to garnish for this. Plain and simple.

myoglobin

myoglobin, ASN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro. Has 14 years experience. 1,453 Posts

If they keep increasing draconian collections then more people may follow the lead of those who have fled the country such as those profiled here https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qbx7dm/talking-to-american-debt-dodgers-who-moved-to-europe-to-avoid-paying-off-their-student-loans-111 . Although in some cases even passports are being confiscated, so you have to "get out of Dodge" before a default goes through and be prepared to never visit America again. It's a steep price, but one I suspect that many might be prepared to consider if their professional licenses are revoked and can only be regained by paying off the entire debt plus 10% (as is I understand the case to be in Florida). Will the next step be to suspend driver's licenses? At what point would we be nudging people straight into a Grand Theft Auto life of crime as having no other recourse? Kind of reminds me of the Chinese system of "Sesame Credit" whereby if you run afoul of the system by visiting forbidden websites, or perhaps openly practicing religion (or paying debts late) you can lose your ability to ride public transportation, and everyone who calls your house (or whom you call) is given a warning that you are a "social deadbeat"

Snatchedwig, ADN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in Medsurg. Has 14 years experience. 407 Posts

On 1/24/2019 at 10:09 AM, hppygr8ful said:

One thing I have noticed over the years is how many people are asking about the possibility of student loan forgiveness before they even take out the loan. In my mind this means they don't actually intend to payback the loan in the first place which makes the act theft.

One should never take out a loan without fully intending to pay it back in full. Sure things happen and people fall into financial holes but for the most part nurses make decent money and if one plans their education carefully you do not have to go into extreme debt.

I have three college degrees and paid for all of my education in cash. It took longer and I worked the whole time I was in school. I am finishing by BSN at a highly accredited Private University with no debt incurred, because I plan.

Many get into this mess by attending for profit schools because it is a shorter route not paying attention to the fact they have a lower NCLEX pass rate (66%) than public community college program (89%) .

Hppy

Your so wrong its crazy. If you dont have a certain nclex pass rate your school would be placed on probation and eventually shut down. All the private schools in the tampa bay area are well above 90%. Mine is 97%. My LPN 100%.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience. 1,304 Posts

56 minutes ago, Snatchedwig said:

Your so wrong its crazy. If you dont have a certain nclex pass rate your school would be placed on probation and eventually shut down. All the private schools in the tampa bay area are well above 90%. Mine is 97%. My LPN 100%.

Mmm...maybe in your area, yes...but this is a problem nationwide and not just in nursing. Many people are mired in student loan debt from private schools/programs that fibbed about their accreditation and peddled low quality programs that turned out to be useless in the real world.

I’ve seen where some of these private programs have exhausted vet’s GI Bill money on programs that get them a ‘degree’ that is not transferable to any other school. The same is done with peoples loans. IMO it’s criminal.

Sorry, Hppy is right, people gravitate towards some of what I call these “pop up” programs because they are easy to get in to and they can start now. Her point is that some people get them selves into this mess by not doing their research.

Does that make it right to yank a license because the person can’t pay it back? No, absolutely not. As I said before...the public shaming of slapping what amounts to public discipline on a person’s license for all to see is wrong.

When are we going to start seeing scarlet letters....?

Some could have the whole alphabet....and that just starting with the politicians.

myoglobin

myoglobin, ASN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro. Has 14 years experience. 1,453 Posts

1 hour ago, Snatchedwig said:

Your so wrong its crazy. If you dont have a certain nclex pass rate your school would be placed on probation and eventually shut down. All the private schools in the tampa bay area are well above 90%. Mine is 97%. My LPN 100%.

I believe that you may be mistaken. Consider, this Florida data for NCLEX pass rates broken down by school (2017 was the most recent date that I could find data for) https://floridasnursing.gov/forms/nclex-passage-rates-2017.pdf You will note that pass rates range from 20% to 100%. One of the schools down the street from my hospital has been in business since at least 2015 and they scored 20%. Now it is true that eventually they will get put on probation, and perhaps even closed, but that can take many years. I'm not even saying that NCLEX pass rates are the end all be all. For example, consider that some of the schools with lower pass rates may cater to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who learned English as a second language. I call it the "MIT effect", of course MIT (or any school where the average SAT is upwards of 1550 or the 99% percentile) can achieve high rates of success, this may reflect more about the quality of the student than the school. Show me a school that takes poor to average students and teaches them so well they have good success (either on the NCLEX, or as nurses or physicists and engineers in the case of MIT) and that is a great school. Kind of like those small schools that manage to put basketball teams in the NCAA "sweet sixteen" this represents either a stellar program (from an athletics perspective) or a rare alignment of talent (ie the Indiana State Larry Bird effect). All of this is of course something of a separate matter from whether or not it is a good idea to take away someone's primary means of earning an income, for not paying, or falling behind on their student loan payments. To me it's all part of our (here I mean especially American) tendency to "hit people when they are down" or "lockem up and throw away the key". Sure there should be penalties, including lower credit scores, garnishments of wages and tax returns, inability to obtain new loans until payments are caught up, but don't take away people's means of earning a living required to pay back the very thing they are delinquent on.

Edited by myoglobin
Errors

Snatchedwig, ADN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in Medsurg. Has 14 years experience. 407 Posts

2 minutes ago, myoglobin said:

I believe that you may be mistaken. Consider, this Florida data for NCLEX pass rates broker down by school (2017 was the most recent date that I could find data for) https://floridasnursing.gov/forms/nclex-passage-rates-2017.pdf You will note that pass rates range from 20% to 100%. One of the schools down the street from my hospital has been in business since at least 2015 and they scored 20%. Now it is true that eventually they will get put on probation, and perhaps even closed, but that can take many years. I'm not even saying that NCLEX pass rates are the end all be all. For example, consider that some of the schools with lower pass rates may cater to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who learned English as a second language. I call it the "MIT effect", of course MIT (or any school where the average SAT is upwards of 1550 or the 99%) can achieve high rates of success, this may reflect more about the quality of the student than the school. Show me a school that takes poor to average students and teaches them so well they have good success (either on the NCLEX, or as nurses or physicists and engineers in the case of MIT) and that is a great school. All of this is of course something of a separate matter from whether or not it is a good idea to take away someone's primary means of earning an income, for not paying, or falling behind on their student loan payments. To me it's all part of our (here I mean especially American) tendency to "hit people when they are down" or "lockem up and throw away the key". Sure there should be penalties, including lower credit scores, garnishments of wages and tax returns, inability to obtain new loans until payments are caught up, but don't take away people's means of earning a living required to pay back the very thing they are delinquent on.

Florida specifically: two years consecutively low pass rates the school is placed on probation then eventually closed.

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience. 1,304 Posts

32 minutes ago, Snatchedwig said:

Florida specifically: two years consecutively low pass rates the school is placed on probation then eventually closed.

And in those 2 years plus time on probation, how many people are churned out and either unable to pass the NCLEX (if I am correct, those numbers are ‘first time’ attempts, yes?) on the first shot or at all. And even if they do, are they really prepared to be competent nurses or were they simply ‘taught to take the test?’ Those ones muddle through, get out there and crash and burn.....and still have huge loan payments. How about those who are part way through and find their school shut down? No matter which way you look at it, the student is still on the hook for the exorbitant loans.

Regardless, we digress.....as I’ve said before, using the DOH as debt collection muscle is useless. Taking away the means of income to make the payments is not going to get it paid. They say ‘oh the threat of losing the license works.” Pardon,? is Navient the mafia now? SMDH. Brass knuckles, cement shoes, dynamite....wait, wasn’t that a song.....?

Snatchedwig, ADN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in Medsurg. Has 14 years experience. 407 Posts

1 minute ago, catsmeow1972 said:

And in those 2 years plus time on probation, how many people are churned out and either unable to pass the NCLEX (if I am correct, those numbers are ‘first time’ attempts, yes?) on the first shot or at all. And even if they do, are they really prepared to be competent nurses or were they simply ‘taught to take the test?’ Those ones muddle through, get out there and crash and burn.....and still have huge loan payments. How about those who are part way through and find their school shut down? No matter which way you look at it, the student is still on the hook for the exorbitant loans.

Regardless, we digress.....as I’ve said before, using the DOH as debt collection muscle is useless. Taking away the means of income to make the payments is not going to get it paid. They say ‘oh the threat of losing the license works.” Pardon,? is Navient the mafia now? SMDH. Brass knuckles, cement shoes, dynamite....wait, wasn’t that a song.....?

All that extra stuff you just wrote is not my business and i dont care about. I was addressing the assumption private schools have low pass rates.

osceteacher

osceteacher

Specializes in Practice educator. Has 15 years experience. 234 Posts

Can't pay your loans, lose your job until you pay your loans.

Capitalism ho!