Fake Nursing Degree Liability Is a Hot Potato — Will Hospitals Get Stuck with It?
Healthcare attorney Victor Moldovan recently spoke with Becker’s Hospital Review about the potential liability hospitals could be facing as a result of “Operation Nightingale,” which uncovered a scam where people were buying fraudulent nursing school transcripts and diplomas, allowing them to sit in for the National Council Licensure Exam without getting the required education and training. According to the article, many of the so-called “fake” nurses were able to successfully pass the exam and had been hired by hospitals across the country.
Mr. Moldovan told Becker’s Hospital Review the employer who hired the “fake” nurses could be facing several legal risks.
“The fact that a person who should not have been providing medical services was working in a facility, regardless of the employer's intent, does raise some issues, not only with compliance with state law but whether payment received for services to patients that were cared for by the nurses was proper," he said. The federal programs require compliance with state law to participate and bill for those services. If the provision of those services by the (fake) nurses violated state law, that could be an issue on payment."
Mr. Moldovan also explained that patients who were treated by these nurses could sue the hospital for professional negligence.
“It's possible that those patients who were cared for by one of these nurses could claim the care was negligent because a nurse was not properly licensed. It could amount to both negligent care and also negligent hiring — depending on state law," he said.