On October 31, 2019, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) sent out the following email to nurses with professional nursing licenses in Illinois:
FROM: IDFPR NOTIFICATION <FPR.Notice@illinois.gov>
SUBJECT: Nurses – asking for a friend to avoid discipline for impairment?
Greetings [Your Full Name],
Did you know a nurse may avoid discipline against their license by self-reporting impairment? Illinois law allows nurses to participate in care, counseling, and treatment for impairment if certain requirements are met, including that the licensee self-reports their impairment and/or certain adverse actions within sixty (60) days. For more information, please review the Department’s FAQS. Complete the Nursing Self-Report Form or call (312) 814-6910 to self-report.
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Division of Professional Regulation
Should you be worried?
Understandably, many nurses around the state were quite surprised and frightened to receive this official message from the IDFPR. However, this mass-email should not necessarily cause undue stress.
First off, this was a large-scale message sent to many, if not all, nurses with a professional nursing license in Illinois. As the email recipient, it does not necessarily mean that the Department has any information about you specifically. This email was sent to individuals with a disciplinary history as well as to those with no disciplinary history at all.
IDFPR Communication Failure: Misleading and Incomplete Information Fails to Inform
Second, the email is misleading as it leaves out important information that could inform you as a nurse. It does not define “impairment,” explain what an adverse action may be, or the full-range of outcomes that may arise from a self-report. The operative words in the email regarding care, counseling, and treatment for impairment (or, an “ACCT”) are “if certain requirements are met.” Even if you self-report within the required 60 days the Department may still decide against allowing you to enter into an ACCT and may instead publicly discipline your license.
Do not let any email from the IDFPR scare you into action without first understanding all the possible repercussions and options.
While it is important to self-report impairment and certain adverse actions, every case is different. It is also important to have guidance and representation during this time so you can be prepared to answer any questions about your case and present all of the necessary information to avoid a public discipline. Contact the attorneys of Crick Walanka Law Group to discuss your situation and what we can do to help.