Florida Nurse: Voluntary Treatment Program and IPN
Florida IPN – the Intervention Project for Nurses: Understanding the Monitoring Program
Recently, more nurses are contacting my office reporting that they voluntarily entered a treatment program, and that the facility is requesting them to contact (self-report to) the Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN) or the facility will contact IPN and report the nurse.
IPN is a 3-to-5-year monitoring contract. Once you enter an IPN monitoring contract it is a violation of the Nurse Practice Act to fail to successfully complete the program. So, what can you do? First, if you have not yet entered treatment find out if the treatment facility you are considering is associated with IPN before you begin treatment. If you are being instructed to contact IPN, please contact me to discuss. There may be steps we can take to include withdrawing your consent to release your records in attempt to protect your confidential information. Call 7 days a week (850) 307-5665 or (800) 659-7547.
Below is some information about what you need to know before you contact IPN.
What you need to know before you contact IPN Before you contact IPN: Contact my office to discuss the process. IPN requires nurses to sign a voluntary withdrawal from practice and obtain an evaluation with forensic testing (at your expense) by an IPN approved evaluator. Following the evaluation, the nurse must obtain treatment, a re-evaluation and then sign a monitoring contract with IPN for 2 to 5 years.
Releases signed: IPN requires you to sign releases authorizing IPN to share your information with the Department of Health (for prosecution).
Alcohol: Although alcohol is lawful, IPN is a complete abstinence contract which means no alcohol at all at any time while you are being monitored. When you are evaluated by an IPN approved evaluator you are required to submit to hair, urine and a PEth test. A PEth test is a blood test which detects alcohol consumption back several weeks. Testing positive for alcohol often leads to recommendation of both treatment and IPN monitoring by the evaluator.
Prescription Medication: Controlled prescription medication, such as Xanax, Klonopin, Temazepam are strictly forbidden by IPN. Benzodiazepine are not accepted by IPN under any circumstances. (Many more prescription medications are an issue with IPN monitoring). IPN requires the nurse to stop taking the prohibited list of prescription medication before entering treatment or monitoring. In addition, often a nurse is recommended for treatment and monitoring due to the diagnosis or issues reported that initially resulted in the nurse being prescribed the medication.
Signing a Monitoring Agreement with IPN: Once you sign an agreement for monitoring with IPN, failure to comply with any requirements from IPN (re-evaluations, in-patient treatment, refraining from practice) results in closure of your IPN case and submission of a complaint to the Department of Health for failing to comply with IPN. If you sign a monitoring agreement with IPN be prepared to spend many thousands of dollars complying with IPN monitoring requirements.
Know the process and your options before contacting IPN. What you don’t know can cost you.
Call me for a free telephone consultation and candid discussion about IPN and protecting your nursing license. I represent nurses throughout all of Florida. As a former prosecutor for the Florida Department of Health, I have extensive training, knowledge and experience in this area of practice.
Call 7 days a week (850) 307-5665 or (800) 659-7547.