NJ RAMP Program Hippa violation??


First, I want to state that I would never want to discourage anyone from participating in a Ramp program. I have never needed this program myself but I am positive it is a life saver for many people on many different levels, life, job, etc. Your life and health are a bigger issue than what I am about to detail below.

I was on www.state.nj.us website looking at announcements, job postings and I searched "nurse ramp program". I was shocked to see that nurse's names and private health histories pertaining to their history of substance abuse and infractions were made public. They are pdf of copies of letters filed by the NJ Attorney Generals office/State Board of Nursing detailing whether or not a license was being revoked, reinstated etc and why. I have a feeling this is some sort of oversight or accidental breach maybe by a computer or system meant to digitally document correspondence???? Am I over reacting? I just wanted to see if anyone had any background knowledge of this practice? Do these nurse's know? I would think this would be a violation of a privacy agreement upon entering the RAMP program????

Any input or thoughts?


789 Posts

The letters I read clearly stated they would be kept private unless terms of the agreement were broken. In all cases, the nurse broke the terms and usually failed to respond to multiple attempts to be contacted by the BON.

I would think the nurse would realize the matter was no longer private, as stated in the agreement and the fact their license was revoked. I don't see how any of these fall under a HIPAA violation. The consequences of non compliance were pretty clear. I also believe in many states this is public record under certain circumstances.


299 Posts

I have the same thoughts to our program on the West Coast. The BON publishes every gritty detail of ones addiction- instead of just using the terms of the violation (like "using intoxicants injurious to self").

I also think the fact that the BON gets to review all of my medical records is a violation- I did not willingly give permission for this, it was under duress. The most they should be able to get is a addiction professionals diagnosis and evaluation of ability to safely practice. I was shocked at the investigators questions about my health history and the fact that she determined that my private conversations with my MD could be aggravating circumstances that could impose more discipline. Not to mention the questions about very personal health issues outside of the addiction.

The legislation very clearly directs the BON to not be part of the evaluation or treatment process; I have found the BON to completely ignore this directive (which is breaking the law).

Who is going to bring a lawsuit against a BON when they hold the absolute right to revoke your license? Not me...


510 Posts

I agree, there does seem to be some painful unnecessary information displayed. My state does not have an alternative to discipline but they are kind believe it or not! After the investigation they informed me they have no interest in seeing my treatment information. I only had to provide a clearance letter and quarterly a checklist signed by my counselor that I have been showing up. What I do not care for is that because I am diagnosed with PTSD this also shows up when you google me along with my substance abuse history. I was okay with everyone knowing that I stole medications and have addiction issues but it is distressing for people to be privy to my psychological issues as well.


299 Posts

This makes me mad... I could not imagine how I would feel for a patient that had their various maladies printed up in a newsletter. Its cruel and not helpful, and it seems illegal.

While I am thankful that my life has blessed me with the experiences I have had thus far including addiction and recovery; I am feeling so recovered from thinking errors that I am making a switch out of an unhealthy profession...


324 Posts

1sttime- i agree with what you say.....are you leaving nursing?

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Your license is public record. Any discipline thereof is public record. In matters of "Public health and safety" they can pretty much do as they wish....is it right? no. But, it is not illegal.

The BON is Not your friend which is why every nurse has to have for it will cover your license and provide legal services.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.
Your license is public record. Any discipline thereof is public record. In matters of "Public health and safety" they can pretty much do as they wish....is it right? no. But, it is not illegal.

The BON is Not your friend which is why every nurse has to have malpractice insurance for it will cover your license and provide legal services.


Any violation of one's license can be made public; the premise that the BON protects the PUBLIC, not nurses; the public has a right to know what nurse or any person with a license, at least in my state, is practicing unsafely; the licensing board doesn't care about a backstory on the "human" side, they have a "job" to do.

Specializes in LTC, Psych, Med/Surg.

It is the same way in my state. Nurses with addiction or other struggles are publicly pilloried for all to see. Even if you have a lawyer, nothing can be done about the public smearing that is done by BON's. Addicts are scum as far as my nursing board is concerned and deserve no human consideration. Many employers have the same attitude. Trust me on that one.

Catmom :paw:


299 Posts

1sttime- i agree with what you say.....are you leaving nursing?

I am leaving nursing- I have my realty license and have put my shingle out for business.


324 Posts

good to hear- you have to do what's best for you & yours! best of luck! keep in touch!

Specializes in Med Surg.

I also support the reasoning and the idea that alternative state programs are supposed to represent. Unfortunately I have witnessed the opposite and the opposite. Their actions of coercion by holding our licenses and careers over our heads is criminal and a civil right violation to be informed. No one should be manipulated and forced to sign a contract that not only ruins your life if violated but forces individuals the rights to own you for five years. No entity or agency in the name of protecting the public has the right to discourage one from seeking true healthcare and contract legal advice. They are to protect the public but its a double standard when we become the public and victimized by a system that represents protection. Descrimination in basis of cultural and disability related events is a violation of the same federal laws they convinced themselves they protect. Unfortunately they do a terrible job at protecting the public. I have witnessed patients be mistreated, abused by unnecessary restraints, medication passed given in different units by being put into clear bags divided ny dividers within a binder. The BON are failures. The true threats to the public are not the under the influence, PTSd, and depressed nurses. The nurses that are bullyies, liars, seem perfect are the ones who are quite the cold and harmful individuals. They dont care about patients just money and themselves. We as nurses that develop situations we would never had are victimized through harassment, bullying, rejection and made to feel worthless. Because we have emotions we suffer in silence and slowly hurt our own careers. How are we the true threat. To all please know. A license is not worth your sacrifice to lose the same civil rights many before us fought for and died. One doesnt need to hire an attorney to file a complaint to HiPA or department of disabilities, civil rights , all one needs is searchable. Dont be intimidated. Do demand to be treated with respect and a human being. We are not animals nor garbage. We are nurses and that is a gift.