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DEA Investigation of Nurses and Nurse Practitioners

March 18, 2022 DEA Defense Lawyers

DEA Inspections / DEA Investigations of Nurse Practitioners and Nurses

DEA audits and inspections are performed on medical offices routinely. It’s expected that medical personnel are following proper procedures, and are in compliance with laws when it comes to controlled substances. The DEA can investigate nurse practitioners based on their suspicions about their patterns of prescribing drugs. The DEA can also look into procedures nurses follow when they are administering controlled substances to patients. During the DEA audit, inspection, or investigation, they can review patient records and patterns of prescribing medications. The DEA can also inspect the inventory of controlled substances you keep on hand, take samples, and review records related to the ordering, processing, and disposing of medication.

In many cases, the DEA is focused on the inappropriate prescribing/dispensing of controlled substances. The DEA will look for red flags, such as whether a practice regularly services cash patients — or patients who travel long distances to see the provider. If records show that the nurse practitioner prescribes controlled substances in large quantities compared to other types of drugs, this may be an indication that the prescriptions aren’t medically necessary. Nurses may be targeted by the DEA – if the DEA believes that the medical practice isn’t taking steps to make sure controlled substances are only provided to patients for a legitimate medical reason.

Investigations can lead the DEA to take a number of actions against the nurse/nurse practitioner. DEA agents could ask you to surrender your DEA registration, stating that voluntary surrender could help avoid further consequences.  The loss of a DEA registration however will result in the state licensing board suspending, or revoking, your nurse license. It can lead to other consequences as well – civil, and criminal.

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