Extension to Renew Ohio LPN licenses

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Ohio LPN licenses expire on November 1, 2020.  However, the Ohio Coronavirus Omnibus Act, H.B. 197, effective March 27, 2020, authorizes extending Ohio LPN licenses that expire during the declared emergency.

Ohio LPN licenses will remain valid until the earlier of either 90-days after the date the emergency ends or December 1, 2020, unless revoked, suspended, or otherwise subject to discipline or limitations.

The Ohio LPN license renewal window is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2020 and the Ohio Board of Nursing encourages Ohio LPNs to renew their licenses between July 1 and October 31, 2020.  However, if the declared emergency continues, Ohio LPN licenses that are not renewed will not expire/lapse until the expiration date established in accordance with HB 197.

If the period to renew Ohio LPN licenses is extended, the Ohio Board of Nursing will notify LPNs through the website, social media, and email. To receive information from the Ohio Board of Nursing, it is strongly recommended that you ensure that the Ohio Board of Nursing has your most up to date contact information, including your email address.

Renewal is to be completed online using the Ohio eLicense system, a comprehensive professional regulatory license system used by a variety of state licensing boards, the same system used during the last renewal period.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be accepted by the online system.

Additional Documents May Be Required:

If you respond Yes to any of the questions on the renewal application, you may be asked to provide documentation of citizenship, court documents or other information that may be required as part of your renewal application  Be prepared to upload the documents electronically through the online system. The Ohio Board of Nursing will not accept hard copies of supporting documentation.

For information about the LPN renewal process, see:
LPN Renewal 2020 and Ohio Board of Nursing

If you have any questions on how to respond to questions on the renewal application, need to disclose a conviction or other conduct on your application or need assistance to complete the renewal application, you should consider hiring experienced counsel to assist. As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact Beth Collis or Todd Collis.

Ohio Nurses: How to comply with a Nursing Board Order or Consent Agreement during the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order

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Many nurses who are currently being monitored by the Ohio Board of Nursing, under the terms of a Consent Agreement or a Board Order, have asked how they can comply with the terms of these Orders, while under the State of Ohio Stay at Home Order in effect until May 1, 2020.

In general, each nurse needs to continue to comply with all terms and conditions of your Board Order or Consent Agreement. If you unable to comply in any way, contact your monitor immediately. While the Nursing Board staff is currently working remotely, the staff has access to emails and they are continuing to respond to questions and requests.

Random Drug testing:

Nurses who have stopped daily call ins to First Source, based upon the Ohio Department of Health Stay at Home Order, need to begin daily calls effective Monday, April 20, 2020.

Random Drug Testing will be scheduled after May 4, 2020. Testing will include hair and blood specimens in addition to urine specimens. These highly sensitive tests will be able to detect if you ingested alcohol, medications or illegal substances in the days or weeks before the test. So, just because you are not submitting to random drug testing does not mean that you can consume alcohol (if prohibited by your Board Agreement or Order) or that you may use medications not prescribed to you or illegal substances.

Any requirement that is not met, such as a missed screen or support group meeting attendance, or a positive screen based on the use of hand sanitizer will be evaluated considering the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Attendance at AA meetings:

You may now “attend” AA meetings online.If you participate in an on-line support group meeting or discussion, please document this on Form #4 and include dates and type of meeting attendance. A co-signor is not necessary.

Here are links for on-line meetings:
(AA)
(CA)
(NA)

If you participate in an on-line meeting or discussion, please document this on form #4 and include the date of the meeting and the type of meeting attended. A co-signor is not necessary. Again, contact your monitor if you choose to “attend” an AA meeting online.

Request to modify the terms of your Consent Agreement:

The Nursing Board has also received multiple requests to remove Board monitoring and restrictions or to modify Board Orders. Board actions will not be held in abeyance or suspended. Board Orders are final and there is no provision to modify a Board Order. The Board will not alter permanent restrictions in Consent Agreements or Orders.

Ohio Department of Health has established an outline for essential healthcare workers, which can be found here.

More info about Covid-19 and Ohio can be found here.


As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, feel free to contact Beth Collis or Todd Collis.

Ohio Board of Pharmacy Takes Additional COVID-19 Response Efforts

On March 24, 2020, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy (“OBP”) took additional COVID-19 response efforts to protect the health and safety of Ohioans during the COVID-19 outbreak. These efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Authorized expedited licensure of drug distributors; and
  • Authorized sale and shipment of non-reportable dangerous drugs that are in shortage by unlicensed, out-of-state facilities.

The OBP also reminded its licensees that pharmacies and terminal distributors of dangerous drugs are not required to submit a notification to the OBP for any temporary closures or reduction in operating hours. If modifying operating hours, a pharmacy must update signage to reflect the change in store hours.

Read more HERE and HERE.

As a reminder, the OBP also implemented required infection control procedures effective March 19, 2020.

Read more HERE.

If you are seeking guidance concerning obtaining expedited licensure as a drug distributor or have questions concerning OBP requirements during COVID-19, contact Todd Collis.

 

State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Implements Infection Control Procedures in Face of Corona Virus

Updated 3/19/2020

The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued new requirements to implement safeguards to allow pharmacy professionals employed by a terminal distributor to practice pharmacy in a safe and effective manner.

The Ohio Pharmacy Board issued the following (emphasis added):

Section 4729.55 of the Revised Code requires a pharmacy to implement adequate safeguards that allow pharmacy professionals employed by a terminal distributor to practice pharmacy in a safe and effective manner. This includes implementing safeguards to protect pharmacy professionals (pharmacists, interns, technician, and support personnel) and patients during a public health emergency.

To comply with the requirements of section 4729.55 of Revised Code, the Board has determined the following steps shall be implemented by all pharmacies located in Ohio starting no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2020 to ensure the practice of pharmacy can be conducted in a safe and effective manner:

  • For pharmacies open to the public, consider developing a process for older adults (60+), pregnant women, and individuals with chronic health conditions to pick up medications without waiting in line (i.e. post signs directing to drive-thru, offer curb-side delivery, mail delivery, senior hours, etc.).
  • Implement infection control procedures, especially for waiting areas, to include the following:
  • Pharmacies with workspaces that currently allow patients to get closer than the minimum recommended distance of 3 feet should post signage or utilize other methods to ensure patients who are waiting are maintained at a safe distance. NOTE: This does not apply to patients who must interact with pharmacy staff (i.e. for purposes of payment, immunizations, etc.) or pharmacies that are not open to the public.
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy interns shall no longer be permitted to administer immunizations or other injections without standard protective measures, which includes gloves and proper hand hygiene (i.e. routinely washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds). Standard protective measures do not include the use of masks or gowns.
  • Pharmacists and pharmacy interns shall not administer any immunizations or other injections to patients displaying or reporting symptoms of respiratory illness, including any of the following:
    • Fever (NOTE: This does not require mandatory temperature checks);
    • Cough; or
    • Shortness of breath.
  • Pharmacy professionals who are older adults, pregnant women, or individuals with chronic health conditions shall not be prohibited from wearing appropriate PPE to operate within a pharmacy.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect counters, credit/debit card devices, waiting areas, and other spaces where public interaction occurs with an EPA-approved disinfectant. Clean at least every hour or after every 10 patients, whichever is more frequent. If cleaning and disinfecting products are in short supply, the Ohio Department of Health has developed the following guidance. Read here.
  • If available, place alcohol-based hand sanitizer next to the checkout window so people can sanitize their hands after using common items, like the pen used to sign for prescriptions or devices used to process credit/debit card transactions. REMINDER: Manual signatures from patients are not required by Board of Pharmacy rule (see Important COVID-19 Reminders section of this guidance document for more information).
  • Provide regular breaks for staff to engage in proper hand hygiene (i.e. routinely washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds).
  • Monitor pharmacy staff for symptoms of respiratory illness, including any of the following:
    • Fever (NOTE: This does not require mandatory temperature checks. However, the Ohio Department of Health recommends pharmacies take staff temperatures once per shift);
    • Cough; or
    • Shortness of breath.

Staff exhibiting or reporting any of these symptoms must be sent home.

Failure to comply with the requirements set forth in this document may result in administrative discipline for the pharmacy and the pharmacy’s responsible person.

As always, if you have any questions concerning this post, contact Todd Collis or Beth Collis.

Covid-19 and Compliance with Ohio Board of Nursing Consent Agreements and Orders

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If you are a licensee of the Ohio Board of Nursing who is subject to an Ohio Board of Nursing Consent Agreement or Order, Covid-19 might affect your ability to comply with certain requirements of your Consent Agreement or Order including, but not limited to, submitting to random drug testing (for example, if a test site closes or there are restrictions on travel) or attending AA/12 step meetings (for example, if there are restrictions on travel or group gatherings).

Typically, the Ohio Board of Nursing Consent Agreements and Order require a licensee to report a violation of their Consent Agreement or Order within 30 days of the occurrence of the violation.

First and foremost: Do everything you can to continue to comply with all terms and requirements of your Consent Agreement or Board Order. If you cannot comply with a particular requirement of a Consent Agreement or Order, immediately email your Monitoring Agent as soon as you become aware and provide them all details of why you cannot or did not comply, such as inability to submit a specimen at a designated site for any documented reason or any restrictions on travel and group gatherings. If you have legal counsel, you should also email your legal counsel all pertinent details and a copy of your email to your Monitoring Agent.

Below is an email we received today from Lisa Ferguson-Ramos, Compliance Manager at the Ohio Board of Nursing related to compliance with the terms of the Consent Agreement in light of Covid-19:


Attorneys:

Licensees will be advised that any requirement not met such as a missed screen or support group meeting attendance will be evaluated considering the coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes any restrictions on travel and group gatherings or inability to submit a specimen at a designated site for any documented reason. The agent should be notified by email if a requirement is not met.

Enclosed is a link with an on-line meeting directory:

The message above will be added as an autoreply to monitoring agent emails.

Alternatives to the online meeting link above would be considered. The Board will also consider the inability to comply and will update the message to licensees as information or directives change. Please advise your clients accordingly. I will forward this email to the agents.

Sincerely,

Lisa Ferguson-Ramos
Compliance Manager


Please take all appropriate steps to keep yourself and those around you safe. As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing in general, please feel free to contact Beth Collis or Todd Collis.

 

Ohio Nurses Looking for Work? You Need to Network

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New Year, new you? It’s time to find a new job or to return to the workforce.

Often nurses who have been disciplined by the Nursing Board are concerned that they’ve run into a Catch-22. That is, that they’ve fallen in a cycle wherein they cannot be released from probation from the Nursing Board until they have worked as a nurse, but they also claim that they can’t find work as a nurse as they are under probation with the Nursing Board. 

While finding employment as a nurse (or any medical professional for that matter) is more difficult if you have restrictions on your license or if you are on probation, it is NOT impossible. That is, of course, if you know how to approach today’s job market. This blog post aims to highlight the best tips and tricks for nurses who have restricted licenses or who are under probation to (re)enter the job market.

To start: Did you know that 70-80% of the available jobs are never advertised? So, how do you find a job that you don’t even know exists?

The key is networking.

If you’re sitting at home applying to jobs online and finding that you’re not getting interviews, you are doing it all wrong. You need to reach out to friends, family members, neighbors, former co-workers, and even those who you do not know. Your circle of friends and colleagues should know that you are looking for work.

During your job search, you should...

Have a resumé.

  • Outline your education, training, certifications, prior work experience edited and ready to go. Include your current contact information. 
  • Make sure that it does not include any typos or spacing errors! This is important, as your resumé is your first impression to a potential future employer. If your resumé is sloppy, employers will think that your medical documentation/record keeping will be sloppy.  
  • Include all prior employment. Even if you left a job under less than favorable terms, include it on your resumé. You can discuss in an interview that things did not go well there and that they will not give you a positive review, but explain what you learned and how you have changed from the experience.

Update your LinkedIn account.

  • Consider paying for the upgraded “LinkedIn Premium” account that allows you to have access to more job opportunities, job market statistics, and messaging capabilities through the platform. 

Contact everyone.

  • Let friends, family members, and former co-workers know that you’re looking for work and the type of work that you are best suited to do. You never know who is hiring! 

Meet new professionals in your field.

  • Ask for 15 minutes of their time to meet for coffee or at their office. While they may not have a job, they may know of other opportunities. When meeting with one contact, make sure they give you names of at least two others who they can introduce you to.
  • Be bold! Reach out to people in leadership/management positions who you do not even know and ask them to meet with you for 15 minutes. You will be surprised by how many people will meet with you.

Speak to someone in the Human Resources department (if possible).

  • If applying for a job, see if you can talk with someone in HR or management after you submit your application. See if a friend or former colleague would be willing to call HR and put in a good word for you. 

Create a short list (2-3 people) who you can use as references. Have their names/contact information readily available to provide to a potential employer.

Talk with your monitor at the Nursing Board (if you do have a restricted nursing license) to make sure you understand the scope of the restriction and the types of jobs you can take under the restriction. 

  • If you can’t work in home health or hospice or in management, discuss with your monitor the types of jobs you can take on.
  • Under a restricted license, consider applying for jobs in nursing homes, dialysis centers, doctor’s offices, plasma centers, in a cash only practice (concierge practice), in a drug and alcohol treatment center, in a mental health facility or doing chart reviews for insurance companies. All these types of jobs generally accept nurses who are unable to pass narcotics and do not require the nurse to work in a patient’s home.

Prepare a one minute statement that explains what happened and the changes you have made in your file if you have been out of the workforce or have a restricted license.

  • Be honest and accurate but don’t feel like you have to belabor the point. Employers appreciate honesty and transparency.
  • If your license is restricted, the employer will see the restriction online, so you should be upfront and explain in your first interview the status of your license. 

Lastly, even if you have been out of the practice of nursing for a period of time seeking treatment for alcohol abuse or drug addiction, there are still job opportunities available to you. I was recently interviewed for an article entitled “After opioid addiction, recovering nurse struggles to find a job” in the Washington Post. For more information and similar stories, visit the hyperlink above.

As always, if you have any questions about this post or about the Ohio Board of Nursing, please feel free to contact me at or my partner Todd Collis. 

Compliance Requirements Heightened Under New Pharmacy Board Rules

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Beginning Dec. 1, 2019, pharmacists licensed by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy (“Board”) will have new reporting requirements. The Board enacted similar reporting requirements for pharmacy interns, pharmacy technician trainees, and registered and certified pharmacy technicians. These new reporting requirements add to existing compliance considerations and burdens for licensees, registrants, their employers, and owners and operators of retail and institutional pharmacies.

Under the new rules, a pharmacist licensed by the Board must report the following to the Board:

  1. Conduct indicating another Board licensee or registrant is addicted to or is suspected of abusing alcohol, drugs or other chemical substances, or is impaired physically or mentally such that he or she is unfit to carry out his or her professional duties.
  2. Violations, attempts to violate, or assisting in a violation of the Ohio Pharmacy Practice Act, the Ohio Controlled Substances Act, certain other Ohio laws, or any Board rule adopted under such laws, by an individual or entity licensed or registered by the Board.
  3. Conduct by another Board licensee or registrant of unprofessional conduct or dishonesty.

Reports are to be based on the pharmacist’s direct observation or objective evidence. There are certain limited exceptions to the above required reports.

Additionally, a pharmacist licensed by the Board must self-report to the Board:

  1. A criminal conviction within 10 days following the conviction date, except for minor traffic violations, such as speeding or running a red light.
  2. A conviction, guilty plea, or finding of eligibility for intervention in lieu of conviction in Ohio or the equivalent in another jurisdiction within 10 days after being deemed eligible.
  3. Being granted entry into a diversion or deferral program or the equivalent within 10 days after being granted entry.
  4. Being arrested for a felony within 10 days after the arrest.
  5. Any disciplinary action taken by the DEA or another state within ten days of the notice action.

A pharmacist who reports under the new rules will remain confidential; however, he or she may be required to testify in a disciplinary proceeding as to the report. In the absence of fraud or bad faith, a person who reports or testifies is not liable for damages in a civil action as a result of the report or testimony.

Seek legal counsel if you are unsure

Note that certain terms in the new rules are specifically defined. A fact-based review with legal counsel is recommended, because a failure to report in accordance with the new rules may result in a disciplinary action against a licensee or registrant.

If you have any questions concerning your duty to report to the Board under the new rules, please contact Eric Plinke, Todd Collis, or Courtney White. You may also visit our visit our website.

Use of Social Media by Nurses in Ohio

The Ohio Board of Nursing’s (“OBN”) Fall 2018 edition of Momentum Magazine includes an interesting article concerning the use by nurses of social media.  The article addresses the American Nurses Association’s (“ANA”) Principles for Social Networking and the NurseSee: https://www.nursingworld.org/~4af4f2/globalassets/docs/ana/ethics/social-networking.pdf.

Although the ANA Principles provide useful guidance concerning the use by nurses of social media, nurses licensed in Ohio are required to observe the OBN’s laws and rules concerning use of social media which include, but are not limited to, the following:

OAC 4723-4-03(H) and 4723-4-04(H): These are OBN rules which provide in part that registered nurses and practical nurses licensed in Ohio shall not disseminate patient information for purposes other than patient care, or for otherwise fulfilling the nurse’s assigned job responsibilities, through social media, texting, emailing or any other form of communication.

These rules prohibit nurses licensed in Ohio from using social media, texting, emailing or any other form of communication to disseminate patient information for purposes other than patient care, or for otherwise fulfilling the nurse’s assigned job responsibilities.

OAC 4723-4-06(Q): This is an OBN rule which provides that, for purposes of OBN rules OAC 4723-4-06(I), (J), (K), (L), and (M), a nurse shall not use social media, texting, emailing, or other forms of communication with, or about a patient, for non-health care purposes or for purposes other than fulfilling the nurse’s assigned job responsibilities.

This rule prohibits a nurse licensed in Ohio from using social media, texting, emailing, or other forms of communication with, or about a patient, for non-health care purposes or for purposes other than fulfilling the nurse’s assigned job responsibilities, for purposes of the OBN’s requirements that a nurse licensed in Ohio:

-maintain professional boundaries;

-provide patient privacy and courtesy;

-not engage in behavior that causes, may cause, or may reasonably be interpreted as, physical, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse;

-not misappropriate a patient’s property;

-not engage in behavior for, or that may reasonably be interpreted as behavior for, personal gain at a patient’s expense;

-not engage in inappropriate involvement in, or that may reasonably be interpreted as inappropriate involvement in, a patient’s personal relationships or financial matters;

-not engage in sexual conduct with a patient;

-not engage in conduct in the course of practice that may reasonably be interpreted as sexual; and

-not engage in any verbal behavior that is, or may reasonably be interpreted as, seductive or sexually demeaning to a patient.

A nurse licensed in Ohio who is determined by the OBN to have failed to comply with any of these rules based on the improper use of social media, texting, emailing, or any other form of communication is subject to disciplinary action by the OBN.

As noted in the OBN article, “The use of social media carries with it much responsibility.  Please be aware of your responsibilities and professional obligations and how its use may impact you.”

As always, if you have any questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing, contact one of the attorneys at the Collis Law Group LLC at 614-486-3909 or go to our website at http://www.collislaw.com for more information.

Ohio Nurses with Narcotic Restrictions: You CANNOT Observe Waste

A nurse who is the subject of a disciplinary action by the Ohio Board of Nursing may, in certain instances, have one or more restrictions placed on their nursing license.  One type of restriction is a narcotics restriction.

Although the language of a narcotic restriction can and does vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each case, the Ohio Board of Nursing’s narcotic restriction typically provides:

“Unless otherwise approved in advance, in writing, by the board or its’ designee, NURSE shall not administer, have access to, or possess (except as prescribed for NURSE’s use by another so authorized by law who has received a complete copy of this Consent Agreement prior to prescribing for NURSE) any narcotics, other controlled substances, or mood-altering drugs in which NURSE is working in a position that requires a nursing license. In addition, NURSE shall not possess or carry any work keys for locked medication carts, cabinets, drawers, or containers. NURSE shall not count narcotics. NURSE shall not call in or order prescription refills for narcotics, other controlled substances, or mood-altering drugs.”

As stated noted above, a nurse with a narcotics restriction may not count narcotics.  Counting narcotics includes, but is not limited to, observing the waste of unused narcotics by another nurse because observing waste is considered part of the counting process.  If you have a narcotics restriction on your license, you may not observe waste and you should ensure that your employer is aware that your narcotic restriction prohibits you from observing waste before you are in a situation where you are asked to witness another nurse wasting.

Narcotic restrictions can be permanent or temporary.  If the narcotic restriction is permanent, the nurse must comply with the narcotic restriction on a permanent basis, unless the narcotic restriction includes the language, “Unless otherwise approved in advance, in writing, by the board or is designee”.  This language permits the nurse to request the Nursing Board’s approval for a specific exception to the permanent narcotic restriction.

If the narcotic restriction is temporary, the nurse must comply with the narcotic restriction during their entire probationary period or, in certain cases, for a shorter period.  If the temporary narcotic restriction includes the language, “Unless otherwise approved in advance, in writing, by the board or its’ designee”, the nurse may request the Nursing Board’s approval for a specific exception to the temporary narcotic restriction.

As always, if you have questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing, contact one of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909 or contact me at beth@collislaw.com.

REMINDER – Ohio Licensed Practical Nurses: Renew Your Nursing License Now

Reminder to all LPNs: Renewal of Ohio licensed practical nurse (“LPN”) licenses began on July 1, 2018 and ends on October 31, 2018.  At this time, you have less than a week left to renew your license.

It is a disciplinable offense to engage in the practice of nursing having failed to renew a nursing license.  An Ohio LPN license which is not renewed will lapse on November 1, 2018.  An Ohio LPN whose nursing license has lapsed is not authorized to work as a nurse until their nursing license is reinstated by the Ohio Board of Nursing.

The renewal fee is $65.00, plus a $3.50 transaction fee.  A late processing fee goes into effect on September 16, 2018.  An Ohio LPN who renews their nursing license on or after September 16, 2018 must pay an additional $50.00.  Fees must be paid online at the time of renewal with a credit or debit card (Master Card, VISA or Discover), or pre-paid card.  The renewal application will not be processed until all required fees are submitted.  All fees are non-refundable.

The renewal application includes, but is not limited to, questions concerning criminal, licensure, mental health matters, and alcohol/drugs matters.  All information provided in the renewal application is required to be true and accurate.  Depending on the response given to certain questions in the renewal application, uploading an explanation and Certified copies of certain specific documents is also required.

In certain cases, the renewal application may be forwarded to the Ohio Board of Nursing Compliance Unit for review and an Ohio Board of Nursing investigator may contact the LPN to obtain additional information.  In other cases, a Consent Agreement may be offered to the LPN to resolve a disciplinable offense instead of preceding to an administrative hearing.

If you do not understand a question in your LPN renewal application, or do not know what additional information to upload with your renewal application, it is recommended to obtain experienced legal counsel to assist you before submitting your LPN renewal application, speaking with an Ohio Board of Nursing investigator, or signing a Consent Agreement. Feel free to contact on of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909 if you would like to schedule an appointment for a consultation for assistance to complete the renewal application.

For additional renewal application information from the Ohio Board of Nursing, see: http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/PDFS/Licensure/Renewal/Renewal_Momentum.pdf

As always, if you have questions about this post or the Ohio Board of Nursing, contact one of the attorneys at Collis Law Group LLC at (614) 486-3909.