If you are a respiratory therapist in the state of California and are currently under investigation for alleged misconduct of any kind relevant to your professional duties or qualifications, your license and your livelihood could be at risk.
You worked hard to obtain your California respiratory care practitioner license, and one mistake or one false or exaggerated allegation should not end your career — nor need it do so. At California License Defense, we stand ready to defend your license and your future career at a moment's notice.
We understand the nature of the job of a respiratory care practitioner and the kinds of situations that lead to a formal complaint being filed with the California Department of Consumer Affairs Respiratory Care Board. We also are intricately familiar with the laws and regulations affecting your practice and the administrative process you must go through to defeat or minimize potential professional disciplinary actions.
To learn more or for a free consultation on the details of your case, do not hesitate to call us anytime 24/7 at 888-959-0068.
The Indispensable Roles of Respiratory Care Practitioners
California respiratory care practitioners, also commonly called simply respiratory therapists, provide invaluable services that help patients cope with and overcome difficulties breathing. As a respiratory therapist, you also are responsible for operating respirators, ventilators, and other kinds of medical equipment that save people's lives.
Whether you work at a hospital, for a home health & hospice organization, or somewhere else, your skills as a respiratory care practitioner are critical. Respiratory therapists are called upon in emergency situations for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and the demand for your skills is growing rapidly.
Many of your patients have such chronic conditions as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Others are recovering from a heart attack or stroke or from a traumatic accidental injury. Still others suffer from sleep apnea.
And your duties are as diverse as your patients, including such things as:
- Administering life support via "mechanical ventilation" and accompanying testing, diagnosis, and patient monitoring.
- Taking vital signs.
- Maintaining tracheostomies and other types of artificial airways.
- Treating any of the chronic or other respiratory problems listed above.
- Administering aerosol medications.
- Assisting in patient education and rehabilitation.
- Assessing patients' response to therapy over a period of time.
- Taking blood samples and using them to measure quantities of oxygen, CO2, and other gases.
- Analyzing sputum samples and X-ray results, related to the lungs.
- Determining the impairment level, if any, of patients' lungs.
- Heading up "smoking cessation" programs.
- Educating people about asthma.
At California License Attorney, we understand how trying and how intense your job as a respiratory care practitioner can sometimes be. We also understand how the very nature of your work exposes you to potential lawsuits, criminal charges, and administrative disciplinary actions.
Even the best medical workers can sometimes make a simple mistake, and many of the complaints filed against respiratory care practitioners are based on misunderstandings or unrealistic, unfair expectations.
We are not here to judge you for a past mistake. We are here to defend you and your license and protect your future career.
The Mission of the California Respiratory Care Board
The California Respiratory Care Board does work to expand the availability of respiratory care services, increase public awareness of the valuable roles respiratory care practitioners fill, and support/develop respiratory care educational programs. But their primary mission, like all California licensing boards, is to protect the public against potentially unsafe or substandard practice.
The board's primary concern is to protect patients, not to help practitioners. They use their authority to restrict the granting of respiratory care licenses, issue citations and public reprimands, suspend or revoke licenses for major offenses, and otherwise enforce the Respiratory Care Practice Act, the Business & Profession Code, the California Code of Regulations, and other relevant laws.
Any complaint filed against you with the board can potentially threaten your license, although the nature of the offense and various aggravating or mitigating factors will come into play in determining the final decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) and board.
The Respiratory Care Board Disciplinary Guidelines are used as a guide by ALJs at administrative hearings dealing with all manner of accusations against a licensed respiratory care practitioner.
The disciplinary guidelines divide offenses into "major" and "minor" categories.
In general, a major violation is one that threatens harm to a patient, the general public, or the practitioner him or herself. All drug/alcohol related violations, especially treating a patient while intoxicated, failing to submit to a drug test, or cheating to pass a drug test, are also major offenses. Failure to adhere to the conditions of license probation, when put on such probation for an earlier offense, is also often a major violation.
Major violations will result in an order from the board to cease your practice while the ultimate form of professional discipline you will be subjected to is being decided. This is a kind of "interim suspension" that can be very devastating if the board is slow to reach a final decision.
Minor violations include such things as failing to keep more minor probation conditions only one time or any violation that does not present a threat of actual harm to a patient, the public, or the licensee him or herself.
A citation is a likely form of discipline for a minor violation. Citations will be a matter of public record, accessible to potential future patients and employers and may include a heavy fine. Thus, even a citation is well worth fighting to keep off or remove from your professional record.
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors
In every instance, we at California License Defense will fight to defeat the allegations filed against you. Many times, this can be accomplished without any hearing or even a formal accusation issued by the board ever occurring. The board may find that the complaint is unsubstantiated or lacks enough evidence to base discipline on.
But in some cases, it may be impossible to avoid at least some kind of formal discipline. In this setting, victory must be defined as lessening the form of discipline ultimately administered. Especially, it will mean fighting to get a revocation stayed and license probation granted. Next, it would mean securing a shorter probation term with less restrictive probationary conditions. It could also mean lowering the amount of a fine or shortening a suspension period.
At California License Attorney, we possess well seasoned negotiation skills, which we can use in securing favorable stipulated settlements before or at your administrative hearing.
On the other hand, we can also appeal the board's issuance of a citation or rendering of a disciplinary decision (within the prescribed time limits).
The ALJ who presides over your hearing, should you have one, will not only reference the official disciplinary guidelines but will also consider various aggravating and/or mitigating factors in rendering his/her decision (which the board must then approve to finalize).
Aggravating factors the prosecution may try to press include:
- Any actual harm that came to a patient.
- Any potential harm that might have occurred.
- The violation of a patient's or employer's trust.
- The existence of any previous violations on your record.
- A pattern of repeating the violation under scrutiny.
- The commission of any crime in the presence of a minor.
- Having a misdemeanor or felony on your police record that is "substantially" related to your duties or qualifications.
Mitigating factors that we can present in your favor include:
- Recognition of wrongdoing or of having made a mistake.
- Your having already taken corrective action to prevent a reoccurrence.
- The violation having not been intentional.
- You reported the violation to the board yourself.
- A substantial amount of time has elapsed since the incident without it being repeated.
- Lack of a previous criminal/disciplinary history.
- You have already taken steps at rehabilitation.
- No one was actually harmed by your actions, and such harm was unlikely to occur.
We understand the special rules of evidence and procedure that apply to the administrative process. We know how to fight effectively for a dismissal of the complaint/accusation against you. But we also know when and how to negotiate for a favorable settlement or reduced penalty, when that is the best viable path forward.
Additionally, if your license application been denied, we can help you to satisfy the board's requirements and ultimately get it approved. And if you have already had your respiratory care practitioner license revoked, we can file the petition for reinstatement in your behalf and represent at any hearing held on the matter.
Contact Us Today for Immediate Assistance
At California License Defense, we have the deep experience it takes to effectively defend your respiratory care practitioner's license against all manner of complaints and formal accusations. We have a long track record of fighting for and obtaining the best possible outcome for each and every client we serve, and we stand ready to do the same for you.
For a free consultation, contact us anytime 24/7/365 by calling 888-959-0068.