Is there is a law that prevents hospitals and nursing homes from hiring an RN who has had a felony conviction and or discipline from the state? I have met all of the criminal and civil penalties as well as have had my RN credentials restored by the state.
Dear Nancy replies:
Although you did not give any details about your situation, some general comments can be made. Despite a compliance with required mandates from a state board of nursing and a restoration of a license, some employers, regardless of whether a nursing home or an acute care setting, have a policy or practice of not hiring nurse licensees who have been disciplined. This may be due to a directive from the facility’s legal counsel, a position taken by the employer or perhaps by state statute.
Conviction of a crime at the state level also may bar employment. For example, in Virginia, conviction of a barrier crime (barrier to employment) prohibits employment in most healthcare delivery settings, with some exceptions. Barrier crimes include murder, abuse and neglect of an incapacitated adult and rape. Convictions that are not due to barrier crimes such as traffic violations and prostitution may not
An applicant’s criminal conviction also may result in a nonhiring of the individual, despite having met all conditions of the conviction and subsequent probation, at the federal level. As an example, being convicted of a crime involving fraud and abuse of Medicare or Medicaid funds, patient abuse or neglect, or the suspension, revocation or surrender of a license to provide healthcare for reasons based on professional competence, performance or financial integrity can result in being placed on the Exclusion List of the Office of Inspector General. In effect, this means if on the list, one is excluded from working in any Medicare or Medicaid approved facility and all other federal healthcare programs unless one is removed from the list. Mandatory exclusions exist, patient abuse or neglect, as do permissive exclusions, such as a discipline by a healthcare board that results in a suspension, revocation or surrender of a license as discussed above.
You might want to learn more about the OIG’s exclusions. You can search the list to see if your name is on it and determine if this is the reason you are not being hired by the prospective employers for which you have applied for a job. Likewise, consulting your state law for exclusions from healthcare employment based on a criminal conviction would be a good idea. If you are included on either list, you might want to consult with a nurse lawyer or other lawyer in your state who can help you get removed from the list(s).
There are two websites that would be helpful for the OIG search. The OIG’s general website is (oig.hhs.gov/about-oig/index.asp). You will find a wealth of information about the OIG, its organization and its state affiliates and you can search the Exclusion List. The other website is (oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/background.asp). This page will describe mandatory and permissive exclusions, how to be removed from the list and other useful information.