The United States Department of Labor has estimated a 20% job growth rate for Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants for the years 2010-2020. These healthcare professionals are too often wrongly accused of misconduct related to their treatment of residents or clients. In Wisconsin, the State Department of Health Services (“DHS”) maintains a database of nurse aides and other caregivers who have been found to have abused or neglected a client or misappropriated a client’s property. “Entities” such as hospitals, nursing homes, and community-based residential facilities are required to report any act, omission, or course of conduct on the part of a nurse aide that can be described as abuse, neglect, or misappropriate of property. Upon receipt of any such report, the DHS will conduct an investigation if one is deemed necessary. Upon concluding its investigation, the DHS will determine whether there is reasonable cause to substantiate the allegations of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property.

If the DHS substantiates the allegations, the subject of the report may appeal the decision to the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Division of Hearings and Appeals within 30 days after the date of the decision. The DHS may not enter a subject’s name on its misconduct directory while an appeal is pending. If the Division of Hearings and Appeals finds that the subject of the report engaged in abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property, the DHS is required to enter the subject’s name and the decision in the caregiver misconduct registry. The caregiver may appeal the decision to a court but that review is limited in scope. The caregiver may also file a rebuttal to the findings with the DHS.

Please be aware that this information is a broad description of the caregiver misconduct process in Wisconsin. Substantiated findings of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property can destroy a nurse aide’s career. It is important to seek competent, experienced counsel when faced with such serious allegations. The attorneys of Hawks Quindel, S.C. are ready to assist you.

Nicholas Fairweather

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