Submitted: November 1, 2013
A. Dale Bowers, Esquire Law Office of A. Dale Bowers, P.A. 242 North James Street, Suite 100 P.O. Box 6047 Newport, Delaware 19804-0647 Attorney for Appellant
Patricia Davis Oliva, Esquire Deputy Attorney General Delaware Department of Justice 102 W. Water Street Dover, Delaware 19904 Attorney for Appellee
This appeal stems from a decision of the Appellee Delaware Board of Nursing ("the Board") on April 10, 2013 to withdraw state approval of Appellant Camtech School of Nursing and Technological Sciences ("Camtech"), effectively closing the school. Camtech has appealed the decision and essentially requests more time to implement procedures to comply with Board requirements. Because Camtech has failed to show that the Board committed legal error or that its decision was not otherwise supported by substantial evidence, the decision of the Board is hereby AFFIRMED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In August 2005, Camtech applied to the Board to open a School of Licensed Practical Nursing. Applicants are subject to a three-step approval process which includes:
1) Phase I: 1 year before admitting students, prospective program submits complete application package and the Board conducts a site visit to validate the application. With approval, prospective program moves to Phase II.
2) Phase II: At least 9 months before students may be admitted, prospective program identifies a program director and completes second part of application package. If successfully completed, the program may admit students. With approval, prospective program moves to Phase III.
3) Phase III: Prospective program submits progress reports every six months reporting various criteria. At least 4 months before first day of classes, qualified faculty appointed to assist formation of analytical framework, curriculum plan, and course content. Board will conduct a second site visit after first graduating class to determine whether program is granted full approval.
Camtech proceeded through the first two phases of the process and its first class of students enrolled in September 2006. Camtech was never able to progress out of Phase III of the program for full approval.
The Board has the power to withdraw approval of a nursing education program under 23 Del. C. §1919(b):
If the Board determines that any approved nursing education program is not maintaining the standards required by this chapter and by the Board, written notice thereof, specifying the deficiency and the time within which the same shall be corrected, shall immediately be given to the program. The Board shall withdraw such program's approval if it fails to correct the specified deficiency, and such nursing education program shall discontinue its operation; provided, however, that the Board shall grant a hearing to such program upon written application and extend the period for correcting specified deficiency upon good cause being shown.
The first signs of trouble began in February 2009, when Camtech was informed it was being put on probation and would continue to be held in Phase III. The Board did not categorize them as "deficiencies" but noted several issues of "significant concern, " including its National Council Licensure Exam ("NCLEX") pass rate (61.20%) "far below the 80% threshold, " turnover in its nursing director position, and changes in its philosophy and requirements that were not handled according to protocol. The Board requested documents to substantiate that Camtech would address these issues. Camtech submitted a ...