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5 reasons you could lose your nursing license

Being a nurse is a difficult job. As you work to take care of patients and save lives every day, you may have concerns about losing your license. Disciplinary action by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) can be scary to think about. But what actually leads to investigations and license suspensions?

If you are a registered nurse and fear losing your license, you should know about some of the most common actions that may put your license at risk.

1. Breaching patient confidentiality

Your patients must have the utmost privacy to protect them. Accidental and minor breaches may occur and may not result in losing your license, but you should be careful about what you say and to whom you say it. Avoid gossiping about patients to family members, friends or colleagues.

Last of Texas Medicare fraud sentences handed down

A 52-year-old Texas woman was recently sentenced to serve 10 years in a federal prison and ordered to pay more than $23 million in restitution to Medicaid and Medicare. The FBI said the sentence was the last to be handed down in "a massive health care fraud case" run by Dr. Jacques Roy.

Roy was sentenced this past summer to 35 years and ordered to pay restitution of more than $268 million. The FBI said that the doctor and his co-conspirators -- several of whom were nurses -- perpetrated a home health care fraud involving thousands of patients.

Feds: "White coat" sales scheme violates Anti-Kickback Statute

After Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk settled claims that it marketed drugs using a "white coat" sales scam, global pharmaceutical competitor Eli Lilly is facing similar charges. A recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Lilly ran a "multi-tiered kickback scheme" to boost sales of insulin drugs.

Research organization National Healthcare Analysis Group and 30 states allege in the lawsuit filed in June that Lilly violated the False Claims Act and federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

Cancer centers in war of words, legal actions

A Texas cancer centers chain with locations across the Southwest has been embroiled in a years-long legal dispute with an Arkansas competitor. Landmark Cancer Center has locations in San Antonio, Dallas, Plano and other spots in Texas.

Its Fayetteville facility is pitted in a war of words and legal actions with Highlands Oncology Group. Perhaps the loudest volley in the exchange was in a lawsuit filed two years ago in which Highlands physicians alleged that doctors connected to Landmark were fraudulently billing Medicare.

Why many nurses struggle with drug or alcohol issues

Look at any list of stressful jobs, and chances are that nursing is right up there. For one thing, nurses must wear many hats: medical professional, caregiver, confidant and gofer, to name some. Quite a few work long, soul-draining shifts where they deal with problems that not many other people see.

Moreover, when they go off work, do they have time to decompress and to rest before starting the next shift? In many cases, no. They go home, take care of their families and settle in for just a few hours' worth of sleep. So, it is no wonder that some may turn to drugs and/or alcohol to help with exhaustion, headaches, insomnia and other issues. However, is the blame entirely at the nurses' feet? As with many things, the picture is a lot more nuanced than it might seem at first glance.

Did you receive a Medicare overpayment notification?

As a medical professional, a time may come when you receive a Medicare overpayment, which is a payment you receive that exceeds the amounts allowed under current Medicare rules and regulations. Once you receive a Medicare overpayment, it becomes your responsibility to return the excess amount to the federal government, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services track those who receive overpayments to ensure they repay their debts.

Medicare overpayments occur for a variety of reasons, but the three most common causes include administrative and clerical errors, medical necessity errors and insufficient documentation. In some cases, you may catch the error before Medicare, in which case you must report and return the funds within a specific time frame. If Medicare identifies the error before you notice it, you can expect to receive a demand letter relating to the overpayment.

DOJ wants to dismiss health care fraud allegations

Few people savor being cast in the role of David in a battle with Goliath. But just as the ancient story turned out favorably for the underdog, so too do more modern tales.

No one has more resources than the federal government, so when the Department of Justice withdraws from a case involving allegations of fraudulent billing against a health care provider, it attracts attention.

3 tips to improve dispensing accuracy at your pharmacy

If you operate a pharmacy, you want to do a great job of getting patients the medications they need. However, sometimes mistakes happen. When your staff gets busy or distracted, they may make errors. What may seem like a small mistake can have severe consequences. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, preventable dispensing errors can be deadly.

You should make sure your dispensing processes are as accurate as possible. Following best practices can prevent your pharmacy from filling prescriptions with incorrect dosages or medications. Here is how you can improve the dispensing accuracy of your pharmacy:

Texas pharmacists urged to be careful

The Texas State Board of Pharmacy will be meeting here in Austin in a few days to discuss a wide variety of matters, including disciplinary orders. The Texas board and similar regulatory bodies across the nation are increasingly focused on ways to address an opioid crisis that affects much of the nation.

The Texas State Board makes it clear on its website that part of the responsibility with stemming the tide of opioid abuse lies with the doctors who write prescriptions, but also with the pharmacists who fill them. A pharmacist who knowingly fills invalid prescriptions is not only in danger of losing their state license, but also risk of facing criminal charges.

Depression, nurses and licensing worries

Nurses in Texas can lose their nursing licenses for a multitude of reasons, one of which includes bad behavior. However, some worry about whether episodes of depression may put their license at risk. That worry may cause some to avoid seeking the treatment they need. reports that the nursing profession is in the midst of an epidemic of depression. Nurses are more likely to suffer from depression than those in other professions, by twofold. Fewer than 10 percent of the public, in general, suffers from symptoms of depression. However, nearly 20 percent of those in the nursing profession suffer effects.

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