The most important part of an investigation by the Texas Board of Nursing is the initial phase. The initial phase consists of two parts, Investigative Phase and Informal Settlement Conference. The investigative phase starts when the TBN send you a letter outline allegations and asking for mitigating circumstances. This letter must be answered. Ignoring the letter will result in the BON taking action against you. Failure to answer is treated as admitting quilt to the allegations.
We can help you review the complaint and determine the facts. Essential, the first step is to determine the specific basis for the BON allegations. Once the records and possible witness are interviewed we can determine the merits or lack of merit of the BON’s case. The best course of action can be determined once all the facts are known. In most cases the best attorney to represent you is an experienced trial attorney with a healthcare degree. Based on the facts of the allegation, a letter responding to the request for mitigating circumstances can be prepared. This letter must be factual and accurate. Many times the allegations have no merit. In that situation, the case will be resolved with no further action taken. Attorneys who are unfamiliar with nursing practice can and often do make mistakes in responding to the request for mitigating circumstances.
Admissions made by you may be held against you as an admission of guilt. The initial response can significantly harm you and your career. An experienced healthcare lawyer can assist you in making a response that conveys the facts to the BON. Sometimes it is as important to know the negative aspects of your case as is to know the positive aspect of your case. It is important not to call the BON investigator to ask questions. You cannot avoid the urge to express your innocents. These statements can be constructed as admissions and severely damage your career. An Experience healthcare lawyer and you can prepare for the second step, if necessary.
The second step is to prepare for an Informal Settlement Conference ( ISC) . This may be the most important part of the investigation. The ISC is where you find out to what extent the BON is seeking disciplinary action. Also the BON will be assessing you to determine what extent the allegations are correct, your willingness to take corrective action, acceptance of responsibly and your defense. The BON will assess nonfactual issues such as their evaluation of you as a person. To be successful at an ISC you must be prepared plus your attorney must have a strong grasp of the case.
The BON after conducting an investigation either prior to or after an ISC often sends he Nurse a letter called a proposed “Agreed Order”. This letter will contain what the BON believes are the facts, the conclusion the BON has made and terms and conditions to be imposed on the nurses license. If you agree with the Agreed Order you sign it. By signing it, you are admitting to the facts and conditions contained in the letter. If an agreement is not reached, the BON will then file formal charges. The allegations will then be heard at the State Office of Administrative Appeals.