Carol Holmes
R.N., B.S.N., J.D.
Representing Health Care Professionals for over 30 years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Licensing Disciplinary Actions

What happens if I receive an Administrative Complaint and I don't submit a timely Answer within the 30 days mentioned in the document?

If a timely Answer is not submitted, all of the allegations in the Administrative Complaint are deemed ADMITTED.

What happens if the allegations in the Administrative Complaint are deemed admitted?

If no response to the Administrative Complaint is received by the Bureau of Health Professions, the Administrative Complaint is sent to the Board's Disciplinary Subcommittee for discussion and probable imposition of sanction upon your license according to MCL 333.16226, depending on the allegations that are deemed admitted.

What if I disagree with the statements in the Administrative Complaint, and don't admit the allegations?

You need to file a response to the allegations, and deny the untrue allegations in the Administrative Complaint.

If I retain an attorney, will the Board think I am guilty?

Quite the contrary! The Board's Disciplinary Subcommittee will understand that you are contesting the allegations, and have defenses to what is being alleged.

Do I need an attorney, or can I represent myself?

You are not required to have an attorney to represent you. However, keep in mind that the outcome of licensing actions may result in criminal charges, limitation of or suspension of your license, ineligibility to participate in federally funded health programs, and actions against any licenses you hold in other states. A good defense is an investment in your professional future.

When should I hire an attorney, and what kind of attorney would be appropriate if I want representation?

Any allegations against your license, which may result in a sanction, are serious. So, having legal help as you go through an investigation or file an Answer, or attend an informal or formal meeting or Hearing, will be very beneficial to you. An attorney can be hired at any step in the process, but the earlier, the better. Some licensees wait until the last minute to decide they are not qualified to represent themselves, only to find that options that would have been available to them earlier are no longer available. An attorney who regularly handles licensing administrative law matters will know and understand the unique aspects of licensing law that other legal practitioners may not know. Additionally, it is helpful to have an attorney on your side who knows the "players" on the other side, and can advise you of what to expect and how to properly prepare your case before it is ultimately decided by your Board, and while you still have options.

What can an attorney help me to do to defend my license?

An attorney can recommend certain documents or pieces of evidence to help the persons handling your case at the state level understand your defenses. An attorney can also recommend things that you can do to address the concerns raised in the Administrative Complaint, before you meet with licensing personnel. This can make a big difference in the kind of sanction that may be imposed, or in obtaining a dismissal of the Administrative Complaint.

What happens if I agree to a Consent Order?

You had better make certain that you understand fully what the terms and conditions are, and how the Consent Order will affect your future practice, your membership in professional organizations, the likelihood of you obtaining licensure in other states, or possible entry into professional schools, colleges, or programs, because ONCE A CONSENT ORDER IS ADOPTED BY THE BOARD'S DISCIPLINARY SUBCOMMITTEE, IT IS FINAL AND IT IS PERMANENT! It will not be expunged at a later date, and in almost all cases, it will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

If I sign a proposed Consent Order, and it is accepted by my Board's Disciplinary Subcommittee, will I have to show my employer?

Yes, and you will have to sign an affidavit attesting to the fact that you have shown your employer not only the Consent Order, but the Administrative Complaint upon which the Consent Order is based.

Will I get fired if I show the Consent Order and Complaint to my employer?

That is a very serious consequence that may result from the entry of a proposed Consent Order. So, before you agree to such an Order, you need to discuss any options that you might have with someone knowledgeable about the process with which you are dealing. Remember, once the Consent Order is entered, it is permanent, and it is also reported to other states under the "sister state" reporting acts. An experienced attorney will be able to help prepare you for the discussion that you and your employer will have if the Consent Order gets entered. This can make a huge difference in the ultimate outcome.

How much will it cost to hire an attorney to help me through this process?

Most attorneys who practice this type of law can provide you with an estimate for your specific case. Also, attorneys may have alternative payment plans that may help you to retain legal counsel. Insurance companies may also provide for disciplinary defense benefits so that you can retain experienced counsel to help defend your license. So, when you talk to an attorney, ask about payment options, estimates, and by all means, discuss any insurance that is available. Remember, the least expensive attorney isn't always the best, especially if he or she is not familiar with this type of law or your type of case.

Is it possible to get the Administrative Complaint dismissed?

It is, but you and/or your attorney will need to prepare with this goal in mind from the very beginning. There are things that can be done to optimize your chances of getting the Administrative Complaint dismissed. Understand that the analysts and the Assistant Attorneys General who handle your case don't have the authority themselves to dismiss an Administrative Complaint once it is filed and served on you. Only the Board's Disciplinary Subcommittee (or the Board, in some circumstances) has that authority. So, if you do hire an attorney, it is important to work with someone who knows how cases get dismissed, and you to maximize your chances of a dismissal.

What if I need to get my license reinstated? How do I do that?

All Boards have guidelines for reinstatement, and those packets can generally be obtained online through the Bureau of Health Professions, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, by going to your Board's home page. Keep in mind, however, that if you do apply and go to Hearing, and then to the Board for reinstatement, and then get turned down, you will have to wait another year to reapply. It is critically important that you are fully prepared to proceed with the Hearing when it is scheduled. An experienced licensing attorney can help you maximize your chances of showing compliance with the guidelines for reinstatement. 

Can an investigation and Administrative Complaint ultimately lead to criminal charges against me?

Yes. Allegations of drug diversion or abuse, health care fraud, improper sexual conduct, theft of property of patients, their families, or from your employer, practicing beyond the scope of your license, or without a license are only some of the claims that may lead to criminal charges. The various state departments have direct access to each other, and do communicate freely when violations are identified. Conversely, criminal convictions almost always result in reports to the licensing Board, where you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.

If you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our Lake Orion, Michigan office by phone at 248-690-7059, toll free at 866-814-9004, by e-mail via carol@carolholmespc.com, or by using our online contact form. We look forward to working with you.

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