7 Things to Know About a State Licensing Board Investigation or Complaint
January 31, 2018
Anyone has the right to make a complaint to your state’s Department of Regulation, the body that has the power to revoke your professional license. A complaint that could affect your license could come from numerous sources including a dissatisfied patient, state agencies, criminal activity and more.
Here are 7 things you should know if you are the subject of a medical licensing complaint or investigation:
How you initially respond to a state licensing board investigation can impact the outcome. You could get sanctioned, lose your license, or even lose your job. If you are notified that your license/certification is under scrutiny, you should immediately contact an attorney to help protect your license/certification. The earlier an attorney is involved with your licensing issue, the better they are able to assist with your case.
Do NOT contact anyone who has filed a complaint. Do not make the mistake of contacting the person who made the complaint and try to sort things out or attempt to persuade him/her to withdraw their licensing board complaint. Any contact with that person after you get notified that he/she has filed a complaint can be easily viewed as an attempt to intimidate or harass the client.
Do NOT give anyone access to any clinical records without consulting an attorney first. While the licensing board is likely to have a right to review the case material related to an investigation, the rules of evidence can be complex. Turning over records to the board could result in more serious charges than you started with.
Interviews with your colleagues could have taken place or additional records could have been subpoenaed without your knowledge. This means you should never discuss anything about the situation without legal representation, even if it is just chatting with a colleague.
If you are being investigated by LARA, an investigator will typically reach out via a phone call and request an interview. Should you receive a call from LARA requesting such an interview, you should promptly call an attorney. Having an attorney present in the interview can assist in setting ground rules for the interview and preparing you for the questions that will be asked.
Do NOT ever meet with the board investigator without legal representation. Many times healthcare providers believe they can explain their conduct or behavior without an attorney present, only to learn later that what they say is used as direct evidence against them to support a sanction against their healthcare license. The reason to have an attorney is that he/she can protect your rights to respond to certain questions so you do not unknowingly say something that could be used against you in the investigation. If an investigator unexpectedly shows up at your office or home, politely ask for their business card and tell them that your attorney will contact them soon.
Prior to a formal hearing, there is often a window of opportunity in which an attorney can help you take certain actions that may convince the licensing authorities not to proceed with disciplinary action or to accept a sanction less severe than originally recommended.
If you have been contacted by LARA for an interview or have had a complaint made to the state licensing board against you, reach out to our office at 1-800-837-1973. Our experienced and knowledgeable licensing attorneys will be able to walk you through the process.