For a nurse to be eligible for. VDAP the nurse must meet the following criteria:
- Active license as an RN or LPN, or hold a valid temporary permit to practice as an RN or LPN in Alabama.
- Admit to a substance use disorder, a mental disorder, or physical health issue that can or does cause impairment in the workplace.
- Voluntarily request to participate in VDAP.
- Agree to cease nursing practice immediately, and not return to nursing practice until the treatment provider notifies VDAP staff the nurse is safe to practice, AND the nurse signs the VDAP Agreement for monitoring.
- Provide all releases required and any information deemed necessary.
Acknowledge, in writing, the extent of the disease process, and its effect on your nursing practice, and agree, in writing, to all terms of the VDAP Agreement.
Nurses who wish to self-report or have been directed to self-report a violation:
- Nurse is not eligible for licensure in Alabama.
- Nurse has had any disciplinary action previously, in any state or jurisdiction.
- Nurse has felony convictions for any reason.
- Nurse has nursing practice issues resulting in death or harm to a patient.
- Has diverted controlled substances for any reasons other than self-administration.
- VDAP staff determine the nurse will not benefit from participation in VDAP.
- Nurse does not meet any one of the other eligibility criteria.
Treatment and monitoring recommendations are not made according to the coverage by the nurse’s particular health insurance plan. The nurse who wishes to participate in VDAP must comply with all requests and recommendations made in the process of entering the program.
- Complete any and all evaluations recommended. These may include, but are not limited to, a substance use disorder evaluation, neuro-cognitive and psychological testing, psychiatric evaluation, and pain management assessment.
- Complete all treatment recommended in the evaluation process.
- Pay all costs of evaluation, treatment, and monitoring.
- Utilize only Board-approved treatment providers, counselors, drug screening services, etc., to which you are referred. Approval of any services must be determined PRIOR to their use.
- Voluntarily cease nursing practice until treatment providers and VDAP staff determine you are ready to resume nursing practice AND you have signed your VDAP Agreement.
There are four reasons a nurse’s participation in VDAP may be ended:
- Successful completion of the monitoring Agreement.
- Noncompliance with terms of monitoring.
- The Board receives information which, after investigation, results in disciplinary action by the Board.
- Any further violations of the Nurse Practice Act.
All nurses who need treatment for a substance use disorder must be appropriately evaluated by qualified professionals with expertise and experience in treating these disorders. Before obtaining an evaluation and beginning any treatment with any provider on the Board Approved Treatment Provider List, you must contact the Board of Nursing for appropriate referral.
For referral, contact:
|Reasons for Comprehensive Evaluations for Nurses||
|Programs that include Comprehensive Evaluations and a Health Care Professionals Track||
Nurses desiring VDAP participation:
- Review General Information section above and determine ability to comply with requirements, including the agreement to immediately cease nursing practice.
- Contact the Board of Nursing for appropriate referral. Evaluations that are obtained PRIOR to Board consultation may not be accepted.
- Follow the instructions provided by VDAP Staff and treatment provider.
For referral, contact:
|You are NOT ELIGIBLE FOR VDAP if you are a:|
|Approved Treatment Programs that DO Include a Comprehensive Evaluation and a Health Care Professionals Component|
|BRADFORD HEALTH SERVICES
Bradford Health Services requires all health care professionals seeking treatment IN THE BRADFORD SYSTEM to undergo their evaluations and primary treatment at the Warrior, AL facility.
PO Box 129
Warrior, AL 35180
|For Evaluation/Admission: 205-907-4820
Intake hours: 24 hours/ day
|COPAC, INC.||3949 Hwy 43 N
Brandon, MS 39047
|For Evaluation/Admission: 601-829-2500 or 1-800-446-9727
Intake hours: 24 hours/ day
|METRO ATLANTA RECOVERY RESIDENCES (MARR)||2815 Clearview Place
Doraville, GA 30340
|For Evaluation/Admission: 678-805-5151 (health professional advocate)
|PINE GROVE RECOVERY CENTER||2255 Broadway Dr
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
|For Evaluation/Admission: 888-574-4673 Call Center
|RIDGEVIEW INSTITUTE||3995 South Cobb Dr
Smyrna, GA 30080
|For Evaluation/Admission: 770-855-3111
Intake hours: 24 hours/day
|TALBOTT RECOVERY CAMPUS-Atlanta|| 5448 Yorktowne Dr
Atlanta, GA 30349
| For Evaluation/Admission: 678-251-3200
Intake hours: 24 hours/ day
|TALBOTT RECOVERY CAMPUS-Columbus
|1200 Brookstone Centre Pkwy
Columbus, GA 31904
|For Evaluation/Admission: 706-341-3600
|UAB ADDICTION RECOVERY PROGRAM||1713 6th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35294
|For Evaluation/Admission: 205-975-0719
Intake hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Each VDAP Monitoring Agreement is somewhat different, based on each nurse’s particular circumstances.
Monitoring requirements for nurses with Mental Illness or Physical Illness Agreements are determined on an individual basis.
The usual monitoring requirements for Substance Use Disorder Agreements are as follows:
- Abstain from all unauthorized use of alcohol and drugs for the duration of the Agreement.
- Period of time for monitoring is 5 years (60 months) for most nurses, with options to complete after 3 years (36 months).
- Monitoring fee is due EITHER 30 days from completion of treatment OR 30 days from signing Agreement, whichever is the later date.
- Continuing Care/Aftercare meetings once a week for minimum of 12 months.
- Individual counseling, if recommended by the treatment provider.
- Attendance at a minimum of three (3) abstinence-oriented support meetings each week.
- Completion of any other recommendations made upon discharge from treatment.
- Work in nursing practice a minimum of 24 months, an average of 96 hours per month.
- Most nurses have restricted access to controlled substances medications for a MINIMUM of 6 months of nursing employment. The controlled substances restriction must be lifted a minimum of 6 months’ employment before the nurse is allowed to complete VDAP.
- Random drug screens for the duration of the Agreement.
- Prescription Verifications for ALL medications for the duration of the Agreement.
Submit all required reports to the Board.
VDAP - General
Success in VDAP is contingent upon meeting ALL requirements in the VDAP Agreement. Each nurse is personally accountable and responsible for all aspects of monitoring.
You, and you alone, are responsible for every aspect of YOUR monitoring. It is your responsibility to ensure all persons involved in your monitoring have the appropriate information, and the Board has received all needed information for monitoring purposes.
- Submit all required documents and reports on time.
- You are expected to “self-monitor” your reports, particularly those submitted on your behalf by other people. Consistently remind others who submit reports on your behalf about due dates for the reports.
- You are REQUIRED to provide the Board with a valid mailing address, e-mail address (not associated with your employer) and telephone number.
- You are expected to REGULARLY check for voice mail messages, e-mails, and/or letters from the Board.
- You are expected to RESPOND PROMPTLY to Board communications.
- Inform all appropriate persons about your monitoring. At a minimum, this should include
- Family and significant others.
- All of your health care providers, including counselors.
- Employers: your direct supervisor, monitor(s), and any others that are directly affected by your monitoring.
- The total amount of the fee may be paid at the Services, Fees, & Fines on the ABN website.
You may use a credit or debit card. A $3.50 transaction fee will be added to the total.
- Cashier’s checks, money orders, certified checks, or corporate/business checks may be mailed or hand-delivered to the ABN office.
NOTE: Personal checks for the VDAP fee are NOT accepted.
Board staff will communicate in one of 3 ways:
- Letters through the US Postal Service
You are REQUIRED to provide Board staff with the following:
- VALID non-work telephone number.
- VALID e-mail address, preferably one NOT associated with your employer.
- Accurate mailing address.
If any changes occur in these 3 methods of contact, you must provide the Board with these changes as soon as possible.
Changes to your contact information may be made under My Profile.
VDAP - Random Drug Screens
You have SEVEN days from the date you either signed your VDAP Agreement OR completed treatment (whichever is the later date) to register with First Lab and have an active account. You are expected to begin checking in with FirstSource on the date you were given when you signed your VDAP Agreement.
No, you may go to other collection sites listed as approved for Alabama. When you register with FirstSource, you will be directed to choose a “preferred” collection site. However, you should be able to go to any site listed on FirstSource’s website approved for the ABN. You are not limited to the one site you identify to FirstSource.
What if I am selected for a drug screen and there is a weather emergency (ice storm, hurricane in South Alabama, etc.)?
If an evacuation plan has been put into effect, schools are closing due to weather, etc., please DO NOT go to a collection site. The sites will probably be closed. If you are selected to test:
- Telephone the direct number for Probation/Compliance, leave a message indicating that you were selected to test and the nature of the weather emergency.
- Notify the contract service that manages all drug screens for the ABN.
To contact the VDAP office in these instances, please call the DIRECT number for VDAP: 334-293-5228 .
Do NOT call the Board’s toll free number; you will not be able to leave a message.
- You must check in/login with the contract service that manages drug screening for the ABN every Monday through Saturday to determine whether you are selected for a drug screen. You may begin checking at 4:00 AM (0400).
- If you are selected for a drug screen, you will be notified of the drug testing option you are to use for that screen, as well as the cost of the screen.
What happens if my testing privileges have been suspended with the contract service that manages drug screening for ABN?
- The contract service will suspend your testing privileges if you are unable to pay for your drug screens. As long as your testing privileges are suspended, you will be unable to find out whether you are selected for a drug screen.
- The contract service will charge a fee to reinstate your testing privileges ($25.00), in addition to requiring you to pay the balance you owed.
- Any drug screens scheduled while your testing privileges are suspended are reflected as noncompliant, and may negatively impact your compliance with monitoring.
- When your employer completes and sends the “Notification of Receipt of Order” form to the Board, they have agreed to abide by the terms in the Order.
- You are expected to familiarize yourself with the hours of specimen collection for approved collection sites and are expected to test as directed following check in/login with the contract service that manages all drug screens for the ABN.
What if I am selected for a drug screen on a Saturday and there is no collection site readily available?
Prior to 12:00 noon on the Saturday you are selected:
- Notify the contract service that manages all drug screens for the ABN.
- Telephone the direct number for Probation/Compliance and leave a message.
If you do not check in on a Saturday and you are selected, this screen will be reflected as noncompliant and may have a negative impact on your compliance with monitoring.
There are 2 parts of out of state travel requests:
- You must notify the contract service that manages all drug screens for the ABN of OUT OF STATE travel at least seven (7) days prior to your departure on your trip. A collection site will be identified to you for the out of state travel should you be selected to test while out of state.
- E-mail Probation/Compliance staff of your plans. This notification does NOT satisfy the notification to the contract service as required in number 1 above.
The status of a missed screen that occurs during travel out of state without the minimum required advance notice to the contract service that manages all drug screens for the ABN is reflected as noncompliant.
What reasons would cause staff of the contract service which manages all drug screens for the ABN to contact me?
- Your drug screen is positive: The Medical Review Officer (MRO) will contact you to determine whether there is a legitimate reason for the drug test result. The MRO will give instructions identifying the documentation to be sent and the deadline for receiving the documentation.
- Your drug screen has an invalid result in some part of the testing. The MRO will discuss this with you and notify the Board if there is any reason for concern.
- Your testing privileges have been suspended. You need to address payment for drug screen results that have been reported to the contact service to avoid incurring an additional fee for reinstatement of your privileges.
Ensure that the contract service which manages all drug screens for the ABN has your correct contact information.
VDAP - Nursing Employment
Any setting where you are expected to function independently, without direct supervision, or consistent supervision is not allowed.
Examples of these types of employment are:
- any position that requires the nurse to enter the home of an individual patient, including, but not limited to, home health, hospice, or house call service
- nursing float pool
- travel nurse agency, nurse staffing agency, nursing registry, or temporary employment agency
- contracting for services
- locum tenens positions
- employment as faculty at a nursing program
- employment as a school nurse without prior written authorization from the Board
If you have questions about the appropriateness of a work setting, contact VDAP staff.
Monitored nurses may not accept supervisory jobs without prior approval of the Board. You may be asked to supply a job description to the VDAP Director for a positon you are considering. For Monitoring purposes, supervising nurse duties include, but are not limited to:
- making employment decisions related to licensed staff
- evaluating the performance of licensed staff
- scheduling licensed staff
- making patient assignments to licensed staff
Any change regarding employment must be reported immediately. Print a Notification of Receipt of Order form from the Board’s website.
The forms are found under the “Alternative Program” tab, in “VDAP Monitoring Forms”.
This form will need to be completed by your supervisor and returned to the Board within 10 days of the employment change.
VDAP - Controlled Substances Restriction
Step 1: You must first send a written request to the VDAP Director, asking for the restriction to be REVIEWED, and include the originals of your Meeting Attendance Sheets for the six months preceding your request.
Step 2: A complete review of your monitoring records will then be done by VDAP staff, asking for the restriction to be REVIEWED, and include the originals of your Abstinence Oriented-Support Group Meeting Attendance Records for the six months preceding your request.
Step 2: A complete review of your monitoring records will occur. The following information/documents must be in your records:
- Name and contact information for your primary health care provider.
- Prescription verifications for all medications.
- Notification of Receipt of Board/Consent Order from your employer.
- Six FULL months of reports from
- Continuing Care/Aftercare (if required)
- Counseling (if required)
- All Monthly Self-Reports received ON TIME (by the 5th of the month)
- All negative/compliant drug screens
Step 3: Review forms will be e-mailed to:
- Your Continuing Care/Aftercare facilitator
- Your Counselor;
- Your Employer
- YOU: a Self-Assessment is e-mailed and required.
All these forms must be completed and returned to the VDAP Director.
Step 4: The VDAP Director will review all the materials and determine if the restriction should be lifted.
A letter will be sent to you AND your employer notifying you of the decision.
You are NOT allowed to access controlled substances until you AND the employer receive the letter of notification. Until this letter is received, you are not allowed access to controlled substances.
What medications am I NOT allowed to access and administer when a restriction to access drugs/controlled substances is in place?
You are not allowed to access or administer any medications classified as Controlled Substances on Schedules II-V by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or the Alabama Controlled Substances List (www.adph.org).
- Your access to controlled substances through any computerized system must be BLOCKED.
- You are not allowed to carry keys for the narcotics cabinet.
- You are not allowed to COUNT controlled substances.
- You are not allowed to WITNESS waste of controlled substances.
- You are not allowed to CHART any doses of controlled substances given by other nurses.
- You are not allowed to ADMINISTER controlled substances to patients after being signed out by another nurse.
- You are not allowed to CALL IN PRESCRIPTIONS for controlled substances.
- You are not allowed to order, receive, or sign for delivery of controlled substances.
- If any of the criteria listed in the section above are not met, the restriction will not be lifted.
- If you are no longer employed or you change jobs just before the restriction review occurs, your restriction will not be lifted. You must be employed in a nursing job and your new employer needs to submit some reports before the restriction will be lifted.
- If any person providing input into the review does NOT believe you are ready to have the restriction lifted, the restriction will not be lifted.
Remember, accessing and administering controlled substances is a serious responsibility.
If you cannot be successful in completing the BASIC monitoring requirements that allow you to practice nursing, you will not be allowed to access and administer controlled substances.
VDAP - Obtaining Health Care While Monitored
If I am ill and the provider writes prescriptions for me, do I have to wait until the Board approves the medications before I can take them?
If you are ill, please do NOT wait until someone at the Board “approves” the medications. The Board does not “approve” medications; we require NOTIFICATION and VERIFICATION of the medications. You must have the provider complete a Prescription Verification Form and send it to the Board immediately.
There are certainly some acceptable reasons to need Class C drugs. However, LONG TERM use of these drugs requires ongoing evaluation and documentation from your primary healthcare provider or other Board-approved provider for its continued use.
- You will be required to provide appropriate documentation for the continued use of these medications. You may be directed to provide a prescription profile of all medications you have obtained.
- If the medication’s use continues over many months, you may be directed to complete a relapse evaluation.
Many nurses who abuse prescription medications go to multiple healthcare providers to obtain their drugs of choice. While you are monitored, you need to have ONE provider who functions as the “quarterback” for your healthcare, making referrals to other providers as deemed necessary. If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, you will be expected to find one as soon as possible.
- Verification from your primary healthcare provider of all currently prescribed or authorized medications is due at the start of monitoring. Subsequent verification is due within 10 days of the issuance of a prescription.
- Controlled medications and any medication containing a mood-altering substance require verification from your primary healthcare provider as to your need for medication.
What if I have long-standing relationships with specialty physicians/providers for particular health problems?
You will need to identify these providers and their contact information to the Board. The need for a primary healthcare provider does not mean you should not see some of your specialty providers. However, a specialty provider (e.g. neurologist, orthopedic surgeon) should not be in charge of your preventive care.
If you are ill, please be seen at an urgent care clinic or emergency department. Immediately report prescribed medication in writing to your primary physician. If you are ill, please do NOT wait to take the medications until someone at the Board “approves” the medications. Healthcare provider verification of prescribed medication is due within 10 days of the issuance of a prescription.
Controlled medications and any medication containing a mood-altering substance require verification from your primary healthcare provider as to your need for medication.
What do I need to do regarding my monitoring if I am scheduled to have a procedure that will require sedation or anesthesia?
Steps to take:
- E-mail Probation/Compliance staff of the procedure and the date it will occur.
- Notify the contract service that manages all drug screens for the ABN of the procedure and date it will occur.
- The day of the procedure, obtain documentation of the procedure and any medications given during the procedure (operative report, DC Summary, medical restrictions, etc.). Submit this documentation to Probation/Compliance.
- If you are discharged with prescriptions, obtain verifications as you would for any other medications.
- Either you (if you are able) or another responsible person needs to notify Probation/Compliance staff of your hospitalization as soon as possible. Probation/Compliance staff will inform you or that person that you should contact Probation/Compliance staff when you are discharged from the hospital.
- Obtain a copy of the discharge summary and medications administered while hospitalized. Submit this documentation to Probation/Compliance as soon as it is available. If this documentation is not submitted to Probation/Compliance, any drug screens or monitoring activities that were missed are noncompliant.
- If you are given activity limitations or not allowed to drive when first discharged from the hospital, Probation/Compliance staff MUST receive the appropriate documentation that clearly specifies the limitations. Monitoring activities after discharge from the hospital are only excused when the appropriate documentation is received.
Any monitored nurse who is hospitalized is not expected to attend meetings, provide specimens for drug screens, and the like for the duration of the hospitalization ONLY.
The Alabama Board of Nursing uses the Medication Guide Version 1.7 published by Earley Consultancy, for nurses monitored by the Board. The link to this website is located at http://www.paulearley.net/download/medication-guide/file.
You are REQUIRED to download this guide and have it available for your use throughout the program. Over the counter medications and medications which require a prescription are not allowed without verification of prescribed medication from your healthcare provider.
VDAP - Monthly Self-Report and Meeting Attendance
You are required to submit your reports on-line. The Board no longer accepts any written, e-mailed, or faxed reports.
- Reports must be submitted from a desk top or lap top COMPUTER, not a Smart Phone or a tablet. Applications for mobile phones or tablets are not available at this time.
- The most effective Internet browser when submitting these reports is Google Chrome. You may download this for free.
- If you have an Apple computer, you must also download Google Chrome.
- Reports may only be submitted during the month in which they are due.
- You will not be able to access the report after the last day of the month in which it is due. (e.g.: report is due October 5, after October 31, report may not be submitted).
- There is no other mechanism to submit reports that are not submitted on line. The report is considered a “Missing Report”.
- Periodically, you will be requested to send the original copies of your Meeting Attendance sheets to the Board.
- The hard copies of your Meeting Attendance will be compared to what was submitted on-line.
- If the Meeting Attendance sheets and your on-line reports do not have the same information, you are considered noncompliant with your monitoring.
VDAP - Quarterly Reports
- These reports are submitted on-line by others in your behalf.
- Quarterly reports are typically submitted by your Continuing Care/Aftercare facilitator, Individual Counselor, and Employer.
- Sometimes a nurse will be required to have reports submitted from a Psychiatrist or Pain Management provider. These reports are NOT available on-line. If these reports are required, the VDAP Director will provide paper reports for you to give these providers every quarter. These are the ONLY paper reports accepted.
For your Continuing Care/Aftercare facilitator and Counselor there are forms specific for these individuals to complete and send back to the Board. You will be given the forms when you sign your VDAP Agreement, and the forms will also be available under “VDAP Monitoring Forms”.
Employer: The “Notification of Receipt of Agreement” (or “NOR”) must be received at the Board to set up on-line monitoring. This form is found under VDAP Monitoring Forms. Please print this form, and have your supervisor complete it. The supervisor should return the form to the Board.
Until these specific forms are received at the Board, the Continuing Care/Aftercare facilitator, Counselor, and your Employer will not be able to access and submit the reports for you.
What do I need to do if my Continuing Care/Aftercare facilitator, Counselor, or Employment supervisor/monitor have changed?
When there are changes in ANY of the individuals who are to submit reports in your behalf:
- YOU are responsible for obtaining the appropriate form and providing this to the new facilitator/counselor, employer-supervisor.
- These forms are available on the Board’s website, under VDAP Monitoring Forms.
- Board staff MUST have the correct names, contact information, and e-mail addresses in order before your reports may be submitted.
- Ensure information forms that identify your supervisor and monitor(s) have been sent to the VDAP Office by your supervisor. The supervisor and supervisor’s e-mail address MUST be included or the on-line reporting cannot be set up.
- REMIND the individuals submitting reports on your behalf of upcoming due dates.
- Remember, you and you alone are responsible for your monitoring. See FAQs about General Information about Monitoring.
What happens if my Aftercare Counselor, Individual/Group Counselor, and/or Employer do not submit the reports?
Reports must be submitted on-line from the Board’s website only.
If the reports are not submitted within the month due, the Employer, Aftercare Counselor, and/or Individual Counselor cannot send anything to the Board to “make up” for this.
- Reports may be submitted through the LAST day of the month in which the report is due
- After the last day of the month, the reports are not available. The status of a missed report is noncompliant
- If the report is NOT submitted, you will not receive credit for that quarters’ activities (You will not be given credit for 3 months’ of Continuing Care/Aftercare, Counseling, and/or employment).
- Missing reports may delay lifting of a controlled substances restriction, re-evaluation for return to advanced practice nursing, release from monitoring, etc.
- If there are more reports missing, this may cause negative consequences for your monitoring.
VDAP - Relapse Evaluation
The two most common reasons for relapse evaluations are
- You inform the VDAP Director you have relapsed.
- You have a drug screen that shows a medication for which you have no prescription or authorization to use.
There are other reasons that may prompt the VDAP Director to direct you to have a relapse evaluation. These reasons may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Frequent dilute drug screens.
- Termination from your employment for controlled substance or impairment reasons.
- Noncompliance in monitoring with drug screens.
- If you are directed to complete a relapse evaluation, the VDAP Director will provide you with appropriate referrals. You are NOT allowed to arrange a relapse evaluation without the approval of the VDAP Director.
- Relapse evaluations must be COMPREHENSIVE, multi-disciplinary evaluations, and must be completed at a program that includes a health professionals track.
- If your original treatment provider has the capability of doing these evaluations, you will be directed by the VDAP Director to complete the relapse evaluation with this same provider.
- If your treatment provider did NOT offer comprehensive evaluations and a health care professionals track, the VDAP Director will provide you with a minimum of TWO referrals for the relapse evaluation.
In general, you will be allowed to remain in VDAP, but only if you do the following:
- STOP working in nursing immediately.
- Inform your supervisor (the VDAP Director will also send a letter to your supervisor informing him/her of the need for this evaluation).
- Schedule and complete the evaluation within one month of being directed to do so.
- If further treatment is recommended, you must complete ALL the recommendations from the relapse evaluation and sign another VDAP Agreement (if you are eligible to do so) before you may return to nursing practice.
If you are not eligible to sign another VDAP Agreement, the VDAP Director will inform you of this. Your case will then be forwarded for disciplinary action.
VDAP - Monitoring Completion
If I have a substance use disorder monitoring Agreement, what should I do to be considered for release from monitoring?
The steps for release from monitoring (successful completion of VDAP) are the same, whether you wish to be released after 3 years of monitoring (“early release”) or you are monitored for a longer period of time.
- Send a written request to the VDAP Director, stating you would like to be released from monitoring.
- Along with the request, send in a minimum of the last 6 months of your Meeting Attendance Sheets to be audited.
- VDAP staff will review your ENTIRE monitoring record, to determine if you are compliant with all aspects of your Agreement and have met the MINIMUM requirements for release from monitoring.
- Once the review of our Meeting Attendance sheets and your monitoring record are reviewed, the VDAP Director will contact you. You will be given EITHER
- Information about scheduling your release from monitoring evaluation OR
- Reasons why you should NOT schedule the evaluation at this point.
- If you are given permission to schedule the evaluation, schedule and complete the evaluation in the appropriate time frame, with the treatment provider to whom you are referred.
- While Board staff may be able to determine you are compliant with monitoring, Board staff do not have face to face interactions with monitored nurses very often. It is possible for a nurse to APPEAR to be completely compliant with monitoring, but to not be actively engaged in recovery.
- The release from monitoring evaluations are done by treatment providers with considerable experience in treating health care professionals. The evaluations are designed to assess the strength of integration of recovery principles into all aspects of your life.
The VDAP Director will inform you where you may schedule the evaluation. The evaluations must be done at a treatment facility that has a health care professionals track.
- DO NOT, under any circumstances, schedule a “release from monitoring evaluation” without the VDAP Director’s approval.
- If you completed your treatment at a program with a health care professionals track, you will be directed to return to that same program for your release evaluation.
- If you completed treatment at a program that DID NOT include a health care professionals track, you will be referred to 2 programs with a health care professionals tracks. You may choose from one of these programs to which you are referred.
May I schedule my release from monitoring evaluation with another provider if my original treatment provider is unable to schedule the release from monitoring evaluation for a long time (4-5 months)?
Nurses need to return to their original treatment provider for this evaluation, unless your treatment program does not meet the criteria outlined in a previous question about acceptable programs for these evaluations.
Treatment providers that complete these evaluations have many things going on that contribute to delays.
- The programs are providing treatment services while evaluations are done. The same individuals who participate in the evaluations are also providing treatment.
- Other evaluations are a higher priority than release from monitoring evaluations. Nurses entering treatment, nurses referred for relapse evaluations, and nurses returning for final return to work recommendations, are higher priorities.
- The same individuals are usually involved in all types of evaluations. Scheduling appointments with these professionals is a logistics issue, not to mention the required documentation that must be completed. Most providers have a maximum number of evaluations that may be completed during a specified period of time.
VDAP staff understand your desire to complete monitoring. However, this reason alone will not allow your evaluation to take precedence over other nurses who fall into higher priority evaluation categories.
Is it true that most nurses are not allowed to complete monitoring before 5 years of monitoring has occurred?
This is NOT a true statement. Many nurses complete monitoring before 5 years of monitoring occur.
- 3 years is the MINIMUM amount of monitoring a nurse must complete to be released from monitoring. Nurses may request consideration for “early release” as soon as three years monitoring has occurred, or at any point between 3 and 5 years of monitoring.
- There are many reasons that could cause a nurse to be denied “early release”. When the VDAP Director discusses release from monitoring with you, you may be given reasons to delay the evaluation. This is based on years of experience in monitoring nurses, observing the reasons nurses have been denied release from monitoring in the past, and feedback from treatment providers about the reasons nurses may have release denied.
- Whether or not a nurse is recommended for release from monitoring depends on many factors that are evaluated by the treatment providers who do the evaluations. Release from monitoring entails much more than compliance with your VDAP Agreement.
How will I know that I have completed VDAP since the treatment team told me they were going to recommend release from monitoring following the release from monitoring evaluation?
- You are NOT released from monitoring until you receive a letter from the Board that you have successfully completed your monitoring.
- You are expected to continue compliance with all monitoring requirements of your VDAP Agreement, until you receive written notification you have completed VDAP.
- The completion of monitoring letters are not mailed until the full, written evaluation summary from your evaluation is received at the Board.
- This letter may not be received for 2-4 weeks after you complete the evaluation.
VDAP - Employer
The Agreement itself does not have a requirement for disclosure of monitoring status during the interview process.
However, nurses monitored in VDAP are expected to disclose their monitoring status during the interview process. The nurses are informed of this when VDAP Agreements are signed. An employer is unable to make a fully informed decision about hiring a nurse if this information is not disclosed.
Your role includes the following:
- Complete and return the Notice of Receipt of Agreement to the VDAP Director. Make sure that your phone number and email address are included. List the healthcare credentials of all monitors.
- Become familiar with the Agreement and its requirements in the workplace.
- Report the nurse’s work performance and hours WORKED (not scheduled) each month of the quarter.
- Timely submission of quarterly Employer reports.
- Reporting problems encountered by the nurse or about the nurse’s performance.
Working shifts in health care means the monitored nurse may be on duty at times when the supervisor is NOT on duty.
If the supervisor is NOT on duty when the monitored nurse is working, there must be at least ONE other licensed nurse (who is not in VDAP or Probation monitoring) who is aware of the monitoring and is available to intervene in the event there are problems with the monitored nurse.
If you did not list at least one Monitor besides the supervisor on the Notice of Receipt form, VDAP staff will contact you for the name of an appropriate Monitor.
Reports must be submitted on-line from the Board’s website only.
For the on-line reports to be set up for you, you must return the “Notification of Receipt of Order” form to the ABN. If this form is NOT returned to the ABN, you will not be able to submit reports for the nurse.
Once your information is received and entered, you may access the reports by going directly to the Board’s website:
- Monitoring Reports
- Select “Online Employer Report”. Under this heading you will find
- Online Employer Report (this is the actual report)
- Online Employer Reporting Instruction Manual. Please read this manual before you begin completing reports. It contains necessary information about user names, passwords, etc.
The reports are available online throughout the month in which the reports are due (e.g.: reports due July 10 are available July 1-31). After the last day of the month, you will not be able to submit the report.
If you failed to submit the report during the allowable time frame, the nurse will not receive credit for the time worked.
I don’t want to get the nurse in any trouble. Am I required to report any issues that occur during the quarter?
Yes, you are required to report any issues that occur during the quarter (was the nurse written up for absences? patient care problems? etc.).
- The act of reporting an issue does not automatically translate to problems for the nurse with the Board of Nursing.
- Your role is NOT to present the nurse in the best light, or to be the nurse’s cheerleader.
- Your role is to ACCURATELY report job performance, attendance, and any other information (such as problems that arise) that is pertinent.
A VDAP nurse has been working 8 months, yet the controlled substances restriction has not been lifted. What is the process for lifting the restriction?
The processes for reviewing the controlled substances restriction are listed below.
- The NURSE initiates the request to review the restriction by submitting a request to the VDAP Director.
- The VDAP Director will review the nurse’s monitoring record for any obvious problems. If there are problems, the nurse will be notified of the issues and given instructions about addressing them. The review will not move forward until the problems are addressed in a satisfactory manner.
- If the monitoring record is satisfactory, review forms will be e-mailed to you and others who are involved in monitoring the nurse. A self-assessment is also e-mailed to the nurse.
- Your role as supervisor is complete the form sent to you, and return it to the VDAP Director as soon as possible. Once all the review forms are completed and sent to the VDAP Office, the VDAP Director will review all documents and determine if the nurse’s controlled substances restriction should be lifted.
- A letter will be sent to you, as the employer, and the nurse, notifying you of the decision as to whether or not the restriction is lifted.
Nurses monitored by the Board who have the controlled substances restrictions in effect are not allowed to access or administer any medications classified as Controlled Substances on Schedules II-V by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or the Alabama Controlled Substances List
- Access to controlled substances through any computerized system must be BLOCKED.
- Monitored nurses are not allowed to carry keys for the narcotics cabinet.
- Monitored nurses not allowed to COUNT controlled substances.
- Monitored nurses are not allowed to WITNESS waste of controlled substances.
- Monitored nurses are not allowed to CHART any doses of controlled substances given by other nurses.
- Monitored nurses are not allowed to ADMINISTER controlled substances to patients after being signed out by another nurse.
- Monitored nurses are not allowed to CALL IN PRESCRIPTIONS for controlled substances.
- Monitored nurses are not allowed to order, receive, or sign for delivery/receipt of controlled substances.
The use of the term “controlled substances” is deliberate: “narcotics” refers only to opiate and opiate-like drugs. Many other medications are addicting, but are not “narcotics,” and are classified as controlled substances.
It may be inconvenient for a nurse on your staff to be unable to administer controlled substances to patients. The burden of giving controlled substance medications for a monitored nurse is best handled by equally distributing responsibility for this among the other staff members on duty.
- It is helpful to assign which nurse will give controlled substances for each of the monitored nurse’s patients at the beginning of the shift. In this manner, each nurse for whom they may be responsible for medications, and the monitored nurse knows to whom he/she should go for assistance with this.
- The monitored nurse should NOT expect special favors. If other staff are giving controlled substances for the monitored nurse, the monitored nurse needs to other staff members with their duties.
You should conduct drug screens for monitored nurses in the same manner, and for the same reasons your other staff are requested to complete drug screens.
Remember, the Board of Nursing randomly screens all VDAP nurses for the duration of their Agreements. The entire time a nurse in VDAP works for you, the nurse is randomly drug screened by the Board. If a nurse in VDAP tests positive for a medication/substance for which the nurses does not have a valid prescription, you will be notified.