In the world of Google, all it takes is one false accusation to ruin a healthcare professional’s career. An investigation by a licensing board, for example the Michigan Board of nursing, is also more likely to show up online.
You can take every effort to avoid accusations, but a misunderstanding could still trigger a complaint. These accusations take many forms. In too many, the allegations are proven false. As a healthcare provider, how do you make sure an Administrative Law Judge hears your side? What can you do to protect your reputation?
What triggers an investigation?
A compliant starts the process. Co-worker concerns that a change to a prescription did not follow the proper approvals process is one example. Someone might report seeing a nurse take home narcotics. A patient may have issues with interactions that occurred during an exam.
There are an endless number of complaints. A division of the Bureau of Professional Licensing reviews each and closes many with no further action. In other cases, they will authorize an investigation.
How does an investigation proceed? Will you find out about it?
At this stage, you are probably aware of the complaint. This is in effect a discovery process. The investigator will usually talk to the person that made the complaint along with:
- Interviewing co-workers or any witnesses
- Gathering and reviewing evidence, such as medical records or maybe even surveillance video
After completing an investigation, there will be a recommendation to close the file, refer it for expert review or recommend a transfer to draft an administrative complaint.
Regardless of the decision at this stage, it is crucial to seek legal guidance during this investigation stage. This is the time to iron out misunderstandings and potentially avoid a future administrative hearing and a negative ding on your license.
Some of the potential penalties that can be handed down through the administrative process include:
- A probationary period
- Restrictions on a license or practice
- Conditions for continued licensing that may include community service or education
- Suspension or revocation or a license and monetary penalties are also possible.
Often a settlement will include a combination of these penalties. To get the complaint dismissed at this stage often requires the assistance of an attorney.
At Nacht Law, we have noted an increase in false accusations against professionals working in health care. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients who have faced these circumstances. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you navigate this difficult chapter in your professional life.