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Licensing Sanctions Against Michigan Allied Health Professionals in 2014

By Robert A. Welch, Jr.

The University of California San Francisco recently published that the allied professions together represent over 60% of the total health care work force. [1]   The use of allied health professions is generally encouraged to decrease cost and improve quality of patient care.  Allied health professionals may work in a private setting or in conjunction with a health care team to tailor health care to the individual patient.  There are varied references and definitions of the occupations which encompass the category of allied health professionals.  For the purpose of this survey, the list was limited to the segment of licensed health professionals in Michigan who encompass those professions outside of nursing, medicine/dentistry, mental health services, and pharmacy.

Michigan requires professional licensure for numerous allied health professions, including:

  • Acupuncture
  • Audiology
  • Athletic Training
  • Chiropractic
  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Massage Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

As a condition of licensure, allied health professions are subjected to regulation by the Michigan Health Professions Licensing Division in the Bureau of Health Care Services of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (in conjunction with Michigan’s state health licensing boards.)  The regulation of allied health professions is generally codified within the Michigan Public Health Code.  The public health code also codifies the list and types of sanctions that may be levied on an allied health professional’s license for any substantiated, uncontested, or admitted violations of the public health code.  These sanctions generally include suspension, revocation, restriction/limitation, fine, reprimand, and probation.  An allied health professional is also subject to the Health Professionals Recovery Program (HPRP) for alleged violations of the public health code that involve controlled substances, alcohol, or mental health disorders.  An additional punishment for violation of the public health code is the public censure in the form of the disciplinary action report.

The disciplinary action reports publish the names of disciplined individuals pursuant to PA 368 of 1978 of the Public Health Code.  The disciplinary action reports list the disciplinary actions taken against all licensed health professionals for the reporting period.  The report includes the names of the health professionals, their professional license number, the type of disciplinary action taken, the effective date of the action, and the general nature of the complaint.  The following summary compiles the information within the disciplinary action reports as applied to the allied health professions listed above.

For the period January 1, 2014 until December 31, 2014, there were fifty one (51) published disciplinary actions taken against allied health professionals broken down as follows:

  • Acupuncture (1)
  • Audiology (0)
  • Athletic Training (0)
  • Chiropractic (26)
  • Dietetics and Nutrition (0)
  • Massage Therapy (0)
  • Occupational Therapy (4)
  • Physical Therapy (10)
  • Respiratory Therapy (9)
  • Speech Therapy (1)

In 2014, chiropractors accounted for 51% of published disciplinary actions taken against allied health professionals.  There is no published explanation for this disparity, however, the disparity may come from the superior number of chiropractors versus the other allied health professions.  More likely, however, it is that chiropractors are under more scrutiny for their role in the delivery of health care.  Whether the scrutiny comes from their patients, other members of the health care community, or their respective board, there is no argument that more disciplinary actions were taken against chiropractors than in any other allied health profession in our survey group for 2014.

Disciplinary actions compile the sanctions levied on licenses.  There can be multiple sanctions levied for one disciplinary action.  The distribution of sanctions for the 51 disciplinary actions were as follows:

  • Revocation (2)
  • Suspension (21)
  • Probation (16)
  • Restriction/Limitation (1)
  • Fines (27)
  • Reprimands (9)

Our survey found 76 sanctions placed on the licenses of allied professionals in 2014.  Of those 76 sanctions, 40 were levied upon chiropractors.  The majority of sanctions applied to chiropractors were in relation to failure to maintain continuing education requirements (24).

This survey should serve, in part, as a warning for chiropractors in the State of Michigan who may be facing increased scrutiny from patients, other members of the health care community, or their respective board.  Should you receive notice of an investigation of your professional license, have been issued a suspension or Administrative Complaint, or you have been disciplined and you wish to appeal, you should contact Chapman Law Group immediately.  Our experienced health law attorneys will fight to protect your professional license and your professional reputation.


 

1. http://www.futurehealth.ucsf.edu/Public/Center-Research/Home.aspx?pid=88