Complaint Investigation Process – For Complainants
You submitted a complaint, now what
First of all, thank you for submitting your complaint, and without your information, we would not know about the issue. There are specific processes we must follow with any complaints received. In some cases, these processes unfortunately can take months. While we try to do our best to handle cases quickly, the nature of investigations, and the complexity add to the length of time necessary to complete the investigation.
If you provide your contact information, we send a letter giving you the complaint number. We cannot reveal any information during the investigation, as that could potentially compromise the investigation.
Types of Complaint Investigations
Per the Business and Professions Code, the Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT) must follow the Complaint Prioritization and Referral Guidelines, these guidelines separate complaints into 4 different categories. These categories help determine who conducts the investigation. All category 1 and 2, which are the most difficult and egregious cases, are sent to the Department of Consumer Affairs Division of Investigations. The BVNPT retains all other cases and conducts the investigations.
During the Investigation
You may be asked for more information in order for us to begin our investigation. If we do not receive this information, we may close out the complaint without investigation.
Once the Investigation is complete
We will inform you once the investigation is complete via a letter. You can also review our disciplinary actions to see if formal action is taken. This process can take months, so please check back often.
If a formal action is taken, the case is referred to the Attorney General’s Office.
Types of Case Findings
A case can be closed in a variety of ways by the Board. Below are some of the ways a case can be closed.
The Board may close a case for lack of jurisdiction. The Board only has jurisdiction over the violation of the Vocational Nursing Practice Act and the Psychiatric Technician Law. The Board may discipline a licensee for a violation of these laws and may also issue citations to any persons engaging in unlicensed practice.
Anything outside the regulation of the Nursing Practice Act or Psychiatric Technician Law (incidents which are not related to or involved patient care, and do not fall under unprofessional conduct or grounds for action).
An example of this is when a licensee is terminated for attendance issues that do not include patient abandonment. This is an administrative matter best handled by the worksite.
If the licensee identified in the complaint is not an LVN or PT.
An example of this is when the Division determines that the person in question is licensed by another Board, and not licensed by the BVNPT. The BVNPT will cross report the case to the proper Board.
The Board may close a case with a finding of no violation. No violation means that the allegation is false, could not have happened, and/or is without a reasonable basis in fact.
For example, a case may be closed with a finding of no violation where the complaint alleges the licensee engaged in unprofessional conduct while performing services at a facility or for an employer where the licensee never worked.
The Board may close a case for insufficient evidence. Insufficient evidence means that although the allegation may have happened or is founded, there is not clear and convincing evidence to prove that the alleged violation occurred.
For example, a case involving a complaint that a licensee was rude and unprofessional toward a patient may be closed for insufficient evidence where the licensee credibly denies the allegation and no other evidence establishes the alleged violation occurred.
The Board may take action where a complaint is substantiated. A complaint is substantiated there is sufficient evidence to meet the clear and convincing evidence standard. Depending on the seriousness of the allegation, the Board take the following actions:
Notice of Warning
A Notice of Warning (NOW) lets the license know their conduct was inappropriate and their license could be disciplined if they have other incidents in the future.
Cite and Fine Order:
The licensee is issued a citation and required to pay a fine commensurate with the violation committed.
Formal Disciplinary Action
Formal disciplinary action may be taken against a licensee. The first step in the formal action process is filing an accusation. The filed accusation becomes a public document, which is posted to the licensees public documents. You can also review the license of any nurse on the DCA License Search.