The administrative complaint process starts with the filing of a complaint by a former patient, colleague, employer or other interested person with the state licensing agency. In Florida, complaints against health providers are filed with the Florida Department of Health (DOH). In Michigan, complaints are filed with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). The agency (DOH or LARA) assigns an investigator. The investigator usually has nothing more than the complaint to go on. He/she will call or write attempting to set up a meeting with the health professional. Caution, before you meet with anyone, consult our professional licensing attorneys for a consultation. There is often a very short time frame for the health professional to obtain legal counsel to evaluate the issues before the investigator seeks authority to file a formal administrative complaint (due process panel) or an administrative hearing is scheduled.
Many health professionals attempt to resolve investigations, disciplinary and licensing issues on their own. Often their attempts to resolve matters with the investigators are unsuccessful. Sometimes, health professionals make the matter worse by divulging information to the investigator that is later used against them in a formal administrative complaint. Health professionals often mistake the investigator’s friendliness as an opportunity to cooperate to remove suspicion of their wrongdoing. The investigators job is to gather information to file a formal complaint. The investigator is not a friend. Health professionals should retain an attorney to be present at the meeting with the investigator. An experienced professional licensing attorney will be able to present information to the investigator in a favorable light, while protecting information that may be harmful or used against the health professional if a administrative complaint is filed. Additionally, our attorneys will be able to spot weaknesses in the investigators case and may be able to show the investigator these weaknesses and persuade them to dismiss the investigation.
While there may be no validity to the complaint, the risk of potential sanctions far outweighs the cost of hiring an attorney. Often an experienced attorney can help achieve a dismissal or greatly reduce sanctions.
Our attorneys have a great deal of experience represents health professionals with investigations, administrative complaints, suspensions and other disciplinary actions against health professionals. We frequently work with State investigators, on behalf of our client, to resolve investigators before the investigators seeks to file a formal administrative complaint against the health professional. Ideally, health professionals should contact us as soon as they become aware of an investigation into their conduct. This will ensure that our attorneys have sufficient time to collect information regarding that incident. The more favorable information we are armed with at the meeting, the more favorable of an outcome we will likely achieve.
Several of our attorneys practice professional license defense full-time and frequently represent health professionals before the Boards and state investigations. We are passionate about the defense of health professionals and fight aggressively to protect the licenses and careers of our clients.
If you have received a letter from the Michigan or Florida licensing Board, or are aware of a Department of Health (DOH) investigation or a LARA investigation into your conduct, we urge you to call us immediately. We can help you determine the best course of action and represent you at the meeting with the State investigator.