FAQs for Professional License Investigations &/or Disciplinary Matters
“What do I do if I have received a letter notifying me I am under investigation from my licensing board?
Don’t panic. Most licensing boards are legally required to open an investigation upon receipt of a complaint against a licensee (assuming the Board has jurisdiction).
Don’t disregard timelines. If you’ve received a letter of investigation you will be directed to respond in writing to the letter within a certain period of time and may also be directed to provide documents or other materials at the same time. Most licensing boards are willing to provide a reasonable extension of time to respond if needed, but don’t let the deadline go by or simply ignore the letter.
Try not to be defensive. It’s natural to want to defend yourself against allegations made against you, but the licensing board staff member/investigator is simply trying to gather information about the incident. This is your initial opportunity to provide the licensing board with information regarding the issue in question and to explain your side of things; this is not the time to mount an aggressive defense.
Do seek legal assistance as quickly as possible. While you may feel that you can respond to the letter on your own, legal counsel experienced in administrative licensing matters can help ensure that the response letter sent to the licensing board addresses not only all factual issues involved in the case, but legal issues, as well.
“What do I do after I've responded to the licensing board's letter of investigation?
Don’t expect a response immediately. While most licensing boards attempt to review investigative cases as quickly as possible, many boards engage in some independent investigation regarding the allegations contained in the complaint which may take some time. Also, there may be several cases that must be reviewed prior to your specific investigative matter.
Upon reviewing the investigative case, most licensing boards (depending on the laws governing the board) will notify you if the matter is being closed or if formal disciplinary action is being initiated in the matter.
“What happens if my licensing board initiates formal disciplinary action against me?
If you have not already retained counsel, do so immediately. You should not attempt to defend yourself in a formal disciplinary matter. Every state licensing board has slightly different procedural processes for formal disciplinary matters, but most formal disciplinary complaints are resolved either through a settlement/consent agreement or after a formal hearing is held. Legal counsel can advise you regarding your options for resolution and the risks and benefits of each option.
General Licensing Board Questions
Disclosures in General
Every state licensing board specifies certain events/occurrences that must be reported to the board within a specified period of time or disclosed on a renewal application. Such events include a professional malpractice claim being filed in court, loss or change of hospital privileges, loss of professional liability insurance, etc. Be aware of disclosures your licensing board requires and when. Legal counsel can help in determining what and when disclosures must be made and can assist in drafting appropriate disclosure statements.
“Do I need to notify my licensing board if I was recently arrested or convicted for a misdemeanor?
You will typically be required to make a disclosure to your licensing board regarding an arrest or conviction, however when such a disclosure is made is dependent upon the statutes and regulations governing your licensing board. You may be required to report the arrest/conviction to your licensing board within a certain period or time or may be able to make the disclosure at the time of your next license/registration/certification renewal. Failure to make a timely disclosure can result in a licensing board initiating formal disciplinary action.
“I was notified that I need to appear before a licensing board before they will issue a license, what should I expect and should I have counsel?
Licensing boards are required to notify you of the reason why they want to meet with you, but often will reserve the right to ask you about other matters that may come up during your board appearance. You should fully review your license application and any supporting documents prior to the meeting and should have a copy of your application and attachments with you at the time of the meeting. While counsel is not always necessary at such appearances, it is advisable to consult with legal counsel prior to such an appearance. The denial of a license for a professional license/registration can have far reaching consequences and often there is limited, if any, ability to appeal or request reconsideration of a denial so proper preparation and representation, when necessary, is absolutely required.