IPN can be a useful and necessary process, but a professional must first fully understand the terms and requirements for entering into a program. Generally, a multiyear compliance plan will be required, and such plans are very expensive and can easily lead to formal action by the licensing board. A participant must comply with all aspects of the program, which generally include regular meetings, drug testing, and reporting. Failure to comply with the terms will result in a report to the Department of Health, and the professional has very little defenses to prevent further disciplinary action once such report is made. Therefore, if a professional has a good defense to the initial allegations of misconduct, he or she loses the ability to assert those defenses by participating in the IPN program and instead has to comply with all the terms established by IPN.
In many situations, alternatives to IPN are available. Attorneys can sometimes negotiate treatment or monitoring options outside of IPN that may be acceptable to the Department of Health or to the Board. In some circumstances, it will be preferable to challenge the allegations and to request a formal hearing, especially when the evidence supporting the charges is weak or will not stand up in an administrative hearing. An attorney can help you decide whether to challenge the allegations, work to obtain an alternative to IPN, or whether IPN may be your best option.